Combined with increased engagement, mobile apps could help patients verify and update their own information and decrease errors. Typos, similar names and other simple errors are, in many ways, impeding accurate patient matching for providers everywhere. But these simple errors can have very real consequences.Patient identification errors often begin during the registration process and can initiate a cascade of errors, including wrong-site surgery, delayed or lost diagnoses, and wrong patient orders, among others, provider organizations and health IT advocates wrote in a letter to Congress this year. It laid out the severity of the issue and called for government bodies to work with organizations on effective patient-matching solutions.These errors not only impact care in hospitals, medical practices, long-term and post-acute care facilities, and other healthcare organizations, but incorrect or ineffective patient matching can have ramifications well beyond a healthcare organizations four walls, the letter continues.Inaccurate patient matching is pervasive across the healthcare industry, with a 2016 report from the Ponemon Institute and Imprivata finding that 86 percent of respondents had witnessed or known of a medical error that was the result of patient misidentification.While everything from blockchain to artificial intelligence has been floated as a possible way to improve patient matching, a new study from think tank RAND Corporation and Pew Charitable Trusts pinpoints another tool in the pocket of nearly every patient that could help to fix the problem: phones.

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