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Weekly COVID-19 Update: The Three "Fs" for Choosing a Mask, U.S. Mayors Prioritize Infrastructure, and Coalition Senate Testimony Addresses Patient Misidentification


The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. ANSI is monitoring, sharing, and promoting appropriate news to highlight these efforts. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response Efforts.

AHIMA and Others in Patient ID Now Coalition Call for Senate to Address Patient Misidentification

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is part of a coalition of 35 leading healthcare organizations that recently provided testimony to the U.S. Senate to address how the COVID-19 pandemic increases the need to recognize patient misidentification throughout the health care system.

As the Patient ID Now Coalition testimony asserts, accurate identification of patients remains one of the most challenging parts of operational procedures during a public health emergency. During the COVID pandemic, healthcare workers have moved to field hospitals, temporary testing sites in parks, convention centers, and parking lots to see patientsintensifying the challenge to record precise information. 

Matching patients to their information is vital for the correct diagnosis. Identification also helps connect patients with claims billing, completing health records, and tracking the long-term health effects of COVID-19 for years to come.

AHIMA reports that during the pandemic, patient misidentification and a lack of demographic data collected with specimens that are sent to public health labs has "resulted not only in a backlog of COVID-19 test results, but even results being sent to the wrong patient, increasing the privacy and safety risks to entire communities."

The coalition's testimony also sheds light on healthcare disparities in underserved communities and populations. It reveals that OCHIN, a national, non-for-profit, health IT service provider for a national network of more than 500 healthcare delivery sites across the country, found that:

  • Black patients make up 13 percent of their patient population but 21 percent of duplicate records
  • Hispanic/ Latino patients make up 21 percent of the population that OCHIN’s members serve, yet they make up 35 percent of duplicates
  • The homeless population makes up 4.3 percent of OCHIN patients, but 12 percent of its duplicates
  • Migrant patients make up 2.1 percent of the OCHIN patient population but 3.6 percent of its duplicates

Find more information about the Patient ID Now Coalition and the testimony via AHIMA's website.

NSF International Recommends the Three "Fs" for Mask Safety

Public health organization NSF International has published safety recommendations for masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

The organization advises consumers to follow the “Three Fs”–Fit, Fiber, and Flow–to choose the best PPE. According to NSF, select a mask that fits the following criteria:

  • FIT: Choose a mask that fits snugly over your mouth and nose, without openings. Adjust mask straps/fit if you feel air flowing in from any part of the mask.
  • FIBER: Select a mask with natural fibers (cotton or wool), as these materials have rougher threads and are better than synthetics and paper at trapping infectious droplets. Opt for masks with at least two layers. Many masks have filters.
  • FLOW: Make sure you can breathe comfortably while wearing your mask. If your mask is too restrictive or heavy, choose a lighter option. A lighter mask is better than no protection.

Siemens and U.S. Conference of Mayors Release Study that Reveals U.S. Mayors Prioritize Infrastructure

A new study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Siemens USA, conducted by The Harris Poll, provides some insights on how U.S. mayors are prioritizing goals for a more resilient future amid the global pandemic. The study, "Infrastructure, Technology, and Mayors' Priorities for Confronting a Health, Economic and Societal Crisis," reveals that mayors' immediate top investment priorities for economic recovery are investing in infrastructure to generate jobs for economic growth (69 percent) and expanding delivery of virtual/online city services (63 percent).

The study also underscores the importance of technology as a driver in the economy, as 60 percent of mayors reported that their city is accelerating the implementation of smart technologies to help them quickly respond and advance healthy and safe workplaces for COVID-19 recovery and re-openings.

Additionally, more than 9 in 10 mayors agree that investment in technology to reimagine, rework, change, or adapt how commercial buildings are being used is necessary for the future of their city (97 percent).

The online survey was from August 24 - September 1, 2020, with 124 mayors of U.S. cities with a population size of 30,000 or more as respondents.

Access the executive summary online via Siemens.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response Efforts.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]