Significance and Use
5.1 This standard describes a proposal to provide unambiguous personal identification for any patient who requests it. In today’s world of specialized healthcare and mobile patients it is typical for clinical information on a single patient to reside in a variety of locations, some using manual data storage techniques, but an increasing number using electronic means. In order for a clinician to provide safe and appropriate clinical care in this environment it is necessary to be able to aggregate appropriate clinical information on a specific patient in order to gain an accurate and comprehensive picture of that patient’s clinical situation. This implies that all information relating to each patient should be identified in a unique manner to facilitate the process of accurately aggregating appropriate information.
5.2 The converse of the need for data aggregation is the patient’s need to protect the privacy of their information. Unless patients are confident that they can avoid inappropriate sharing of clinical information they will not readily share that information with caregivers. Thus, the same system that supports unambiguous linkage of all information concerning a patient must also play a role in protecting the privacy of that information.
5.3 The proposed patient identification system must be able to avoid or overcome the numerous objections that have prevented implementation of a universal patient identification system in the past including issues related to:
5.3.4 Political Feasibility—Because many different constituencies have a vested interest in a universal patient identification system, it has been a significant challenge to gain consensus on how to implement such a system.
5.3.5 Gradually Implementable—In order to minimize the impact associated with its implementation, a desirable property of a voluntary universal healthcare identification system is that it be gradually implementable over time.
1.1 This document describes the implementation principles needed to create a Voluntary Universal Healthcare Identification (VUHID) system. The purpose of this system is to enable unambiguous identification of individuals in order to facilitate the delivery of healthcare.