In a major initiative to improve patient matching, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) has released Project US@ (Project USA) final version 1.0. This new version is a unified, cross-standards, healthcare specification that could be used across industry for representing patient addresses, including mailing, physical, and billing. The specification has been released in collaboration with standards development organizations (SDOs) and health IT stakeholders.
- On Right Track: Patient matching and specifically how patient addresses are represented has long been viewed as a critical component of nationwide interoperability and the nation’s health IT infrastructure. The availability of a unified, cross-SDO specification is a testament to the broad industry engagement behind this effort.
- Implementation is Key: Now that a specification exists, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) wants state and federal agencies, public health organizations, payers, health IT developers, research organizations, healthcare providers, and all other stakeholders to consider adopting and implementing the final specification.
- Accurate and Consistent Data: “A standardized patient address might seem like a small thing, but that’s precisely why this work was important. Improving the accuracy and consistency of addresses will have a big impact if implemented at scale,” said Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health IT. “I am grateful to the SDOs, federal partners, and health IT stakeholders who all joined in to rapidly develop this new specification.”
- Companion Guide: The HHS has also made available Project US@ Companion Guide developed by and in collaboration with the American Health Information Management Association. This resource provides operational best practices related to accurate and timely capture and management of patient addresses.
- The Journey: A draft Technical Specification Version 1.0 was released for comment in June 2021 and SDO’s collected input during a 30-day comment period in July 2021. Nearly 130 comments were received from stakeholders and the public.