CHIME National Patient ID Challenge

Ensure 100% accuracy of every patient’s health info to reduce preventable medical errors and eliminate unnecessary hospital costs/resources. Read Overview...
Total Prize Amount


The CHIME National Patient ID Challenge is a global competition aimed at incentivizing new, early-stage, and experienced innovators to accelerate the creation and adoption of a solution for ensuring 100 percent accuracy in identifying patients in the U.S.  Patients want the right treatment and providers want information about the right patient to provide the right treatment.  Patients also want to protect their privacy and feel secure that their identity is safe.

Accurate identification can greatly reduce the risk of preventable medical errors and significantly increase quality of care.  It can also drive out unnecessary costs by reducing inefficiency.  First and foremost, patient identification is about patient safety, and we need to get it 100% right the first time, and every time.

We believe the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge can make this happen once and for all.

The Problem

In the past, healthcare providers kept all their patients’ records in paper files.  If you went to a new provider, the only way for the information to be exchanged was through fax or regular mail.  There was no hope that in an emergency, the ER doctor could see what conditions you had or what medications you were already taking.  When you were sent to a specialist, sometimes they had a small amount of information sent over by your primary care physician, and often times not.

Over the last 20 years, many providers have converted their paper records to electronic records.  Efforts are underway to share information between providers (hospitals, primary care practices, nursing homes, etc.) so that, if given permission, they can see your health information to provide the best care possible.  

It turns out this is not easy.  Consider the number of John Smiths living in the same town, sometimes even under the same roof.  Now think about the number of John Smiths in a county, state or the nation. There are even many John Smiths or even John A. Smiths with the same birthday. What if John sometimes gives his name as Johnny Smith? Or perhaps his birth name is really Edward John Smith but he goes by John.

Healthcare organizations spend a lot of time using and perfecting complicated algorithms that use a lot of different pieces of information to ensure that the John A. Smith standing in front of them is the same John A. Smith found in their system. Trying to delete duplicate errors and match records from one healthcare provider to another for every patient takes an inordinate amount of time that could be spent focusing on prevention and treatment, not matching records. Because it is still so difficult to get records from other providers, patients often have x-rays and other tests repeated, which in some cases is harmful to the patient, and at the very least wastes time and money.

The information used for identification, which typically includes birthdate, Social Security Number and address, is collected by multiple people, and sent by regular and electronic mail between providers and billing companies. Theft of this personal information is much more difficult to recover from than theft of a national patient identifier. A stolen national patient identifier can simply be terminated and replaced with a new one. In contrast, a patient cannot replace their birthdate and they are likely not planning to move. Their stolen Social Security Number is tied to all sorts of financial and personal records that are now vulnerable to theft. In fact, it is technically illegal for Social Security Numbers to be used for health records, but it is done all the time. This challenge provides an opportunity to establish a more secure method of patient identification.

Unfortunately, even with all of this effort to try and match records as accurately as possible, in the absence of a national patient identifier, the current matching error rate is of great concern.

In an environmental scan in 2014, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology found that the best error rate is around 7%.  Seven out of 100 records are mismatched.  Perhaps the John A. Smith record found was not the right one.  This is pretty serious when you consider that the provider may unknowingly prescribe a medication that interacts poorly with a medication John is already on or cause him harm due to a condition he has.  Many patients cannot tell you accurately themselves what their prescriptions are or name all of their conditions. 

Worse still, the error rate is usually closer to 10 to 20 percent within a healthcare entity and it rises to 50 to 60 percent when entities exchange with each other. That’s just not good enough.  It’s not safe.  We need patients to be identified accurately 100 percent of the time. 

We know it is equally important to protect each and every patient’s privacy. Patients are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), but laws can only protect if they are followed, monitored and enforced; that has been very difficult to accomplish even with paper records. We think the development of a national patient identifier is actually an opportunity to enhance patient privacy.

What this challenge is not: This challenge is not directly about exchanging health information.  It is not a patient portal that lets patients look at all of their data in one place.  It is not a provider portal that lets providers look at all of a patient’s data in one place.   It will not fix all of the duplicate records in a health center’s system.  It will not find and link all the healthcare entities that have data for a patient. However, we believe that a viable and scalable solution to patient identification is an essential building block to achieving greater information exchange between providers. 

What this challenge is: Simply stated, this challenge is about privately, accurately and safely confirming a patient’s identity 100 percent of the time.

Why the CHIME National Patient ID Prize?

We believe that the technology to solve this problem is already available, but hasn’t been put together in a viable and scalable solution yet. And, in order for a patient identification system to work, we need all stakeholders—patients, providers, technology companies, the government and others—to agree on a standard way to accurately and safely identify patients. Imagine if online and storefront retail stores couldn’t quickly verify your credit card. How much more important is it then for patients throughout the nation to be quickly, privately, accurately and safely identified so that the appropriate healthcare treatment can be delivered. 

This challenge will enable the best solution for identifying patients to be developed and will provide all the stakeholders with the capability to start working toward implementing the solution once it is ready. This will result in a dramatic increase in safety and efficiency throughout the healthcare system.

The Challenge Breakthrough

CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust is looking for the best plan, strategies and methodologies that will accomplish the following:

  • Easily and quickly identify patients
  • Achieve 100% accuracy in patient identification
  • Protect patient privacy
  • Protect patient identity
  • Achieve adoption by the vast majority of patients, providers, insurers, and other stakeholders
  • Scale to handle all patients in the U.S.

Read the Challenge Guidelines for complete rules and submission requirements.

Updates (28)
Forum (110)
show all
Nov. 3, 2017, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Grand Prize Winner Announced
Tentative date. Subject to change.
Oct. 14, 2017, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Prototype Testing Phase II Ends
Privacy and Security
Aug. 31, 2017, 9:01 p.m. PDT
Prototype Testing Phase II Begins
Privacy and Security
Aug. 24, 2017, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Prototype Testing Phase I Ends
Enrollment and Identification
June 30, 2017, 9:01 p.m. PDT
Prototype Testing Phase I Begins
Enrollment and Identification
June 30, 2017, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Finalists Prototype Submission Deadline
May 29, 2017, 4:27 a.m. PDT
You are here
May 15, 2017, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Finalists Announced
May 15, 2017, 10 a.m. PDT
The CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge has completed the Final Innovation Round. We would like to thank all the competitors from around the world who submitted a proposal.  The submissions showcased cutting-edge solutions ... Read More
March 24, 2017, 7 a.m. PDT
Hello innovators! As you know, we are in the critical home stretch for the National Patient ID Challenge. We were thrilled to see a number of submissions come in for the final innovation round, which officially closed on March 1. We want to thank a ... Read More
March 1, 2017, 8:59 p.m. PST
Final Innovation Round Submissions Deadline
All submissions for the Final Innovation Round are due at 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time (8:59 pm PDT).
Feb. 28, 2017, 12:48 p.m. PST
Hello Innovators: It's been a long road, but we are finally getting close to the finish line. The deadline to submit your final proposal is March 1 at midnight Eastern Time.  We officially launched the National Patient ID Challenge a little over a ... Read More
Feb. 16, 2017, 10:07 a.m. PST
Hello CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Innovators!   When we launched the National Patient ID Challenge one year ago, we laid out a single vision – find a solution that will ensure that patients are accurately identified 100 pe ... Read More
Jan. 12, 2017, 12:08 p.m. PST
Hello and happy New Year! We hope everyone had a good holiday season. As you move forward with your final round submissions for the National Patient ID Challenge, we wanted to make sure that you knew about some simplifications we made to the process ... Read More
Dec. 16, 2016, 8 a.m. PST
Hello innovators! As you may have heard, President Obama last week signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. While the new law largely focuses on medical research and the approval process for drugs and medical devices, there are several provisions ... Read More
Dec. 12, 2016, 1:39 p.m. PST
Hello innovators! We want to share an important update with you about the National Patient ID Challenge: After surveying registered competitors and some internal deliberations, we are adjusting the competition timeline: Final submissions due: Mar ... Read More
Dec. 1, 2016, 12:29 p.m. PST
Hello innovators! Sorry for the long delay between updates.  We’ve been busy reviewing both the submission process and the challenge timeline. Specifically, we would strongly urge you to participate in the recent survey that we sent to everyone regis ... Read More
Oct. 14, 2016, 5:28 a.m. PDT
Two influential research organizations last month joined the growing chorus of those calling for greater attention to the problem of inaccurate patient identification. In separate reports, the National Academy of Medicine and ECRI Institute’s Patient ... Read More
Aug. 24, 2016, 9:22 a.m. PDT
The CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust and HeroX today released guidelines for the National Patient ID Challenge Final Innovation Round.  Importantly, we've adjusted the timeline. The submission deadline has been extended to January 15, 2017. Nearly ... Read More
Aug. 1, 2016, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Registration Closed
All competitors in the Final Innovation Round must be registered by 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time (8:59 pm PDT).
July 26, 2016, 8 a.m. PDT
A key congressional committee earlier this month signaled that it may finally be time let the Department of Health and Human Services get involved in the conversation about a national patient identification system. The House Labor Appropriations Com ... Read More
July 8, 2016, 9:09 a.m. PDT
It’s not a huge number, but it is startling nonetheless: Nearly two newborns are misidentified daily across Pennsylvania, according to a report issued last month by the state’s patient safety authority. Imagine being one of those parents. Your heart ... Read More
June 16, 2016, 9:33 a.m. PDT
As of Thursday morning, we are now up to 351 registered innovators from 40 countries! That’s amazing and we thank you all for joining us in this journey to improve patient safety. With so many registered competitors, there’s been a lot of interest i ... Read More
June 7, 2016, 2:29 p.m. PDT
We were greatly encouraged by the level of interest in news about the Concept Blitz Round. And we’d like to again congratulate everyone who entered that first phase of the challenge. As we head into the summer months, attention now turns to the Fina ... Read More
June 1, 2016, 9:01 a.m. PDT
Final Innovation Round Opens
Final Innovation Round is open for registration and submissions.
June 1, 2016, 9 a.m. PDT
Concept Blitz Winners Announced
Winners of the Concept Blitz Round announced.
June 1, 2016, 7:25 a.m. PDT
More than 113 innovators from around the world submitted entries for the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge’s Concept Blitz Round. Following a thorough review by a panel of five independent judges, 23 proposals were selec ... Read More
May 25, 2016, 9:29 a.m. PDT
Judging for the Concept Blitz is coming to a close. We'll announce the winning solutions for the Concept Blitz on June 1, so stay tuned. Perhaps the most encouraging sign from this first phase of the challenge has been the range of solutions that lev ... Read More
May 12, 2016, 12:07 p.m. PDT
We've said it a number of times: accurate patient identification is essential for providing safe and high-quality care. Recall that ECRI Institute - one of the nation's leading patient safety organizations - listed patient ID errors as its No. 2 conc ... Read More
May 4, 2016, 12:08 p.m. PDT
A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that medical errors is now the third leading cause of death in the United States. The study raises some critical issues for healthcare providers and policymakers. This isn't the first re ... Read More
April 28, 2016, 8:51 a.m. PDT
The National Patient ID Challenge is moving into an exciting new phase. We are thrilled to unveil the all-star panel of experts who will be judging the competition: Andy Gettinger, M.D., chief medical information officer, Office of the National Co ... Read More
April 27, 2016, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Concept Blitz Submissions Deadline
All submissions for the Concept Blitz Round are due at 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time (8:59 pm PDT).
April 26, 2016, 9:05 a.m. PDT
Are you planning to enter the Concept Blitz Round of the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge? The clock is ticking. You have until April 27 at 11:59 PM ET to submit their entries. Currently, more than 70 innovators have entered the Concept Blitz Roun ... Read More
April 20, 2016, 8:05 a.m. PDT
There's growing recognition across healthcare that patient identification and matching errors pose a serious threat to patient safety. In fact, identification errors ranked second on ECRI Institute's 2016 list of Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns. Misi ... Read More
April 7, 2016, 11:50 a.m. PDT
One question we frequently get asked about the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge is: Why can’t we use the Social Security Number (SSN) as a patient identifier? Identify theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation and has a devastating ... Read More
March 30, 2016, 2:10 p.m. PDT
Dear Innovators --  We appreciate all of the fantastic feedback and questions we have been receiving about the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge and wanted to let you know that we have extended the Concept Blitz Round submission deadline to Wednes ... Read More
March 17, 2016, 8:03 a.m. PDT
It’s almost two months to the day since CHIME and HeroX officially kicked off the National Patient ID Challenge at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Since then, there’s been a considerable amount of activity. Already, 230 innovators from 28 ... Read More
Jan. 19, 2016, 9 a.m. PST
Challenge Launch! Concept Blitz Round is open for registration and submissions.
Jan. 17, 2016, 8:03 p.m. PST
Greetings! We are thrilled to announce that the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge will officially launch tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19th. Starting at 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time, you will be able to register for the competition and begin work ... Read More
Aug. 20, 2015, 4:45 p.m. PDT
Guidelines for the Challenge are Now Available Can your idea help us bring healthcare information into the digital age? We're proud to announce that the CHIME National Patient ID Challenge is moving forward in a big way. Competitors now have the op ... Read More
July 8, 2015, 2:02 p.m. PDT
From PoliticoPro: Another day, another set of healthcare notables asking for a unique patient identifier. Today’s addition to the annals, which already include groups such as CHIME and the Health IT Policy Committee, came at a Capitol Hill event sp ... Read More
May 26, 2015, 3:07 p.m. PDT
According to the CDC, the average American made 4 medical visits per year in 2006. We conducted a poll on this website that asked visitors, "How often are you admitted to a hospital?" Over 2 weeks, there were 146 respondents. The results of the pol ... Read More