We have been working in the healthcare space for twenty years, specifically on the problem of unique patient identification. We know that in normal times this is massive problem across disparate providers and a hindrance to efficient care. But in the chaotic months ahead the entire healthcare sector will be in disarray and having one nationwide location to log infections uniquely by patient will have massive benefit for practitioners and epidemiologists trying to track and treat the disease.
What it does
The patient registry allows organizations involved in the testing and treatment of patients (individual practices, hospitals, laboratories, etc...) to log key information such as whether they have been tested, the result of the test, and their current health status. The registry will automatically link records together coming from different organizations based on the patient's demographics using the probabilistic algorithms embedded in NextGate's EMPI (Enterprise Master Patient Index). Disclosure controls will be applied to ensure that all data remains confidential. Only qualified organizations will have access to the data and it will be granted at a level of detail that is appropriate for each organization's need.
How it is built
This is a standard patient matching problem no different than many of the engagements NextGate has seen with healthcare organizations over the last 20 years. It will be built upon the Enterprise Master Patient Index technology that has been in production use for decades.
There will be complex governance issues to be discussed. While HIPAA constraints are being relaxed during this emergency, it is essential that they not be forgotten because there will be bad actors that attempt to prey upon this crisis.
What's next for the COVID Patient Registry
The server side components needs to be deployed in the cloud and reachable from the public internet. A more streamlined user interface needs to be developed after consultation with subject matter experts on the relevant clinical data that should be captured and how users are likely to interact with the system. A mobile version of the user interface should also be developed for phones and tablets to further facilitate data entry. Security policies and access control scripts need to be configured to ensure that patient privacy is maintained while still allowing researchers and providers of care to leverage the data for appropriate uses. Reports and other data exporting mechanisms should be configured based on requirements of downstream systems and users. A plan to push adoption either at the state or national level needs to be quickly drafted and put in to effect if the registry is to be of any benefit.
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