Patient Identity Management Policy

Policy title

General Patient Identity Management (PIM) Policy across Linked electronic systems

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Version Number


Effective Date

1st October 2017.

Date Ratified

31st September 2017

Ratified By


Introduction (Rationale for the policy)

The healthcare system has in recent times digitized patient records in claims databases, electronic health records (EHR), patient registries among other avenues. In all cases, patients are accorded unique identifiers depending on the platform in question (Gliklich, Dreyer & Leavy, 2014). This has led to difficulty in patient identification and failure to distinguish duplicate records across linked systems. Therefore, a patient identity management policy is needed in order to address these issues in the given context. Major challenges to be considered in the process include privacy and security of patient data.


Patient Identify Management refers to the safe and accurate identification, management, tracking and linking of digital patient information across various electronic healthcare systems.


There should be a single, unique patient identifier (UPI) for each patient that shall be used for identification, tracking, management and any other clinically useful activity in all electronic databases.

General Guidelines

  • The identifiers should be a unique alphanumeric key that locates all patient data in the healthcare system across multiple electronic repositories.
  • The UPI should be simple, verifiable, ubiquitous and non-disclosing.
  • Once one had been assigned a UPI, it should not be changed until death where it can be reassigned to another patient or discarded altogether.
  • There shall be constant review of guidelines on the design and use of UPIs to ensure that privacy and security of individuals is respected. 
  • Patient information should be accesses by authorized persons only with any other forms of disclosure subject to medical ethics and any applicable law. 


Gliklich, R. E., Dreyer, N. A., & Leavy, M. B. (2014). Managing Patient Identity Across Data Sources. In Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User’s Guide [Internet]. 3rd edition

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