Another Minority Health Disparity: Patient Matching

WASHINGTON — Here’s a health disparity laid bare by COVID-19 that you might not have expected: patient matching — identification and linking of one patient’s data within and across health systems — is worse for minorities and underserved groups.

A recent survey by OCHIN (formerly the Oregon Community Health Information Network), a national non-profit health information technology provider for 500 care delivery sites, found that:

  • Black patients make up 13% of OCHIN’s population and 21% of duplicate records, almost twice the expected rate
  • Hispanic/Latino patients make up 21% of the population that OCHIN serves, yet they make up 35% of the duplications, for almost twice the expected rate
  • 3% of OCHIN patients have experienced homelessness, but they account for 12% of mismatches and duplicates, or almost three times the expected rate

In addition, Black patients were 2.5 times more likely than non-Hispanic white patients to have a COVID-19 diagnosis in

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