In my previous article, we discussed the issues surrounding the National Provider Identifier (NPI) and the Health Plan Identifier (HPID). The NPI has been successfully implemented, the HPID is delayed indefinitely. The last required identifier remaining to be implemented from the original HIPAA legislation is the National Patient Identifier (also NPI) sometimes referred to as Master Patient Index (MPI). The intent of this code set is to create and assign a unique ID to every patient who receives healthcare in the United States.
This code set is intended to address the “holy grail” of healthcare IT, the ability to relate patient data for an individual collected by different entities and for different encounters into a single integrated medical record. The benefits of this achievement seem fairly obvious. Clinical data could be shared and updated by all providers interacting with a patient. The quality of care would improve and medical mistakes would be reduced.