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Doisy Colleg Student Travels to D.C. for Advocacy Efforts

Curran Eigelberger, a senior in Doisy College of Health Sciences' health information management program, will join members of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in Washington, D.C. for the association's Leader Symposium and Hill Day to advocate for the profession. Eigelberger has this opportunity due to his role on the AHIMA Student Advisory Council - a role to which he was elected at the beginning of the academic year.

The trip to our nation's capital for Hill Day coincides with the 27th Annual Health Information Professionals (HIP) Week. The 2016 theme for HIP Week is "Accurate Information, Quality Care."

I could not be more excited to represent Saint Louis University on Capitol Hill. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ."

Curran Eigelberger, Doisy College Senior 

Eigelberger and his fellow AHIMA members will advocate for removal of the federal budget ban prohibiting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from working to improve patient identification efforts. A voluntary patient identification system would ensure patient confidentiality and help prevent confusion that could arise if multiple patients have the same name and/or date of birth.

"On our first day, we will meet with top government officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that we have a strategic game plan," Eigelberger said. "After that, we will be on Capitol Hill meeting with representatives from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives."

Eigelberger said that he believes the use of a patient identification system is important in the world of health information management for many reasons. The first, and most pressing, is because it can directly affect patient care.

If two people with the same name are admitted to the same hospital, there is a chance that information from one patient's  medical records could mistakenly be placed on the other's record. Anything from medical history to blood type to allergies could be incorrect, with major consequences.

Aside from the impact on direct medical care, billing information can also be sent to the wrong person under that scenerio. By using a patient identification system, health care providers can better serve their patients and minimize the risk of harmful misinformation.

"I could not be more excited to represent Saint Louis University on Capitol Hill. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Eigelberger. "Advocating for a patient identification solution has the possibility to affect every medical patient in the country. This experience has the potential to be a life-changing opportunity that I will remember for the rest of my life."