Should Patients Have Electronic Identification Numbers?

  1. the idea is that people who use health care would each be assigned a universal patient identifier, or upi. this unique number would link to a person's health records. in principle it would facilitate transfer of a patient's medical history between doctors, hospitals and, likely, insurance companies.


    a upi system, using one number that seamlessly connects a person to all of his or her records, could be the safest and most efficient way to manage health-care data.

    it would guard against mistaken or stolen patient identities, and make it much easier to pull together a patient's records from disparate providers.

    treatment delays and needless medical errors would be greatly reduced.


    privacy would suffer. upis will only make it easier for companies and others to use medical data for commercial purposes.

    when patients, knowing their doctors have no control over where health-care data go, might refuse to share sensitive information about their minds and bodies.

    upis would encourage the government and corporations to build massive, centralized databases of health information, rich targets for data theft and abuse.

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  3. by   canoehead
    This already exists in countries with universal health care. Every time we access healthcare we provide out ID number to ensure payment to the hospital. Old records are requested under the number via phone and/or computer. Wish they'd auto populate our triage screen, since most people assume I already know all their allergies and meds via the system.