Managing the Master Patient Index in a Healthcare Environment Resolution

Submitted by MPI Taskforce: Barbara Demster, Lorraine Fernandes, Susan Torzewski, Monna Nabers, Victoria Wheatley


This resolution is intended to emphasize the importance of accurate identification of individuals contained in a master patient (person) index (MPI) in a healthcare environment.i An MPI may be found at the single electronic system level, facility level, enterprise or health information exchange (HIE) level.ii An accurate MPI, whether in paper or electronic format, may be considered the most important resource in a healthcare setting because it is the link that tracks an individual's activity within an organization and across the continuum of care. Those individuals may be patients, providers, or members of a health plan.

The MPI serves as the foundation for managing an individual's data to ensure identity integrity and to accurately link the individual's information. The MPI serves as an essential component of accurate patient identification and therefore demands active data stewardship, data governance and many collaborative processes. Today's patient centric focus highlights the importance of standards and interoperability in building and maintaining the MPI.

A key to locating and linking records, a complete, accurate MPI/EMPI is a critical part of patient information systems within and across healthcare organizations.


Whereas, the MPI/EMPI plays a significant role in patient care; safety and quality of care may be compromised if the individual cannot be quickly, correctly, and uniquely identified for access to all of his or her health information;

Whereas, MPI/EMPI integrity impacts financial performance and administrative efficiency of the organization;

Whereas, the role of the MPI/EMPI is more critical than ever due to: increasing reliance on computerized patient information; development of health information exchange initiatives; integration of healthcare delivery systems (including the establishment of multihospital systems and vertical integration of hospitals, physician practices, home care agencies, long term care, and other non-acute facilities); Whereas, the MPI/EMPI is an important resource for healthcare transformation including initiatives such as pay for performance, development of accountable care organizations (ACOs), medical homes, and data analytics, among others;

Whereas, the MPI/EMPI has become the key to integrating computer-based clinical, financial, and demographic data across the continuum of care;

Whereas, the lack of clear national intent on patient data-matching poses a huge impediment to the adoption of health information exchange and endangers patient safety while raising costs.

Whereas, maintaining the integrity of the MPI/EMPI directly impacts patient privacy and the organization's ability to effectively administer privacy and security safeguards; and

Whereas, AHIMA, its affiliatesiii, and members encourage healthcare and public health organizations, health insurers, and other parties to maintain an MPI/EMPI that enables timely, accurate, and accessible healthcare information.

Therefore, let it be:

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members educate executive leadership and healthcare professionals on the importance of an organization maintaining an MPI/EMPI that is complete, accurate, and maintained in a way that protects its integrity;

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members promote the allocation of adequate resources to establish and maintain an MPI/EMPI in a state of high data integrity through financial support, appropriate tools and technologies and the use of HIM professionals;

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members encourage organizations to provide training for integrating, maintaining, and supporting MPIs/EMPIs that consistently and correctly identify individuals while protecting their privacy;

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members encourage a national study of an appropriate patient-data matching strategy that will assist with obtaining the full benefits of health information technology and to ensuring patient safety and privacy across the continuum of care.

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates and its members encourage a national study to evaluate the cost/benefit and practicality of implementing informed national-level patient identity solutions.

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members collaborate with other strategic partners to promote consumer awareness in the importance of patient identity, integrity, and personal privacy;

Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members work with the standards development organizations (SDOs) to develop and promote MPI/EMPI and interoperability standards; and Resolved, that AHIMA, its affiliates, and its members work to develop and support MPI/EMPI best practices and models and provide leadership in their facilities and in the healthcare industry to ensure complete and accurate MPIs.

Approved by the 2012-2013 House of Delegates

i Master patient indexes that are maintained electronically may be referred to as electronic Master Patient Indexes (eMPIs).

ii At the enterprise or HIE level, the master patient index may be referred to as an Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI).

iii Affiliates include Component State Associations (CSAs), local associations, the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM), and the AHIMA Foundation