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CHIME leaders advocate for a national patient identifier

CHICAGO -- Leaders of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) say their organization is committed to bringing about a national patient identifier system despite longtime opposition from Congress.

The lack of a national patient identifier and of health IT standards is impeding interoperability, says Russ Branzell, CEO of CHIME. Further, he does not think that malicious information blocking, the subject of a recent ONC report, is widely practiced.

Branzell also maintains that the importance of cybersecurity and safeguarding health data from breaches can't be overstated.

"We know it's something we should be doing better than we are today," Branzell says in the video.

Meanwhile, healthcare CIOs are also looking for tighter network integration between ambulatory clinics and hospitals, says Chuck Christian, chairman of CHIME's board of directors and vice president and CIO at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Ga. Christian adds that health IT professionals see the growing popularity of drop-in health clinics at pharmacy and retail chain stores and think more about post-acute care transitions for patients.

The CHIME leaders also are gladdened by the federal government's recent moves to provide more flexibility to meaningful use stage 2 attestation, but say stage 1 and recently proposed stage 3 goals should be better aligned.

The pair spoke about forging a national patient identifier, health IT standards and health data cybersecurity at the HIMSS 2015 conference in April, at which CHIME held its CIO Forum.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writeror contact @SSutner on Twitter.

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