Healthcare Identity Management Is Necessary First Step to Electronic Health Record Interchange, Says Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council
PRINCETON JUNCTION, New Jersey, April 1, 2009 – Government policy makers are looking carefully at the best ways to improve the efficiency of information systems in the healthcare industry. But current plans that emphasize electronic health record exchange are putting the cart before the horse, according to a new brief for government policy makers and other healthcare stakeholders from Healthcare Council industry experts at the Smart Card Alliance.
“Dependably accurate identification and authentication of patients seems like something that should already exist in healthcare, but studies show it is a major problem,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “And if we are aiming for wider interchange of information, there must be a way to uniquely and securely authenticate that person across the healthcare system, including over the Internet, in a secure and privacy sensitive way.”
Efforts to reduce medical errors caused by mistaken identities, modernize data exchange, reduce redundant testing and lower administrative costs must start with accurately linking patients with their personal medical information, while at the same time protecting their privacy according to a new brief from the Smart Card Alliance. “Effective Healthcare Identity Management: A Necessary First Step for Improving U.S. Healthcare Information Systems” is a one-page, plain-speak brief that explains the current problems with identity management in healthcare and its costs. It also proposes solutions without reinventing the wheel by leveraging existing standards developed for other federal identity programs, including the FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors standard now being used for federal employee identity programs.
“With the $17 billion federal government investment planned for healthcare IT as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, we thought this was the right time to bring healthcare identity management to the forefront,” said Vanderhoof. “If you look at the problem from inside the healthcare industry, identity management is an essential first step that is not well understood today. The lack of the proper identity management infrastructure will later undermine achieving the program’s goals.”
The Healthcare and Identity Councils of the Smart Card Alliance, a non-profit public/private partnership organization whose members include healthcare providers, government users and technology providers, prepared the brief. It is available online at Effective Healthcare Identity Management: A Necessary First Step for Improving U.S. Healthcare Information Systems.
About the Healthcare Council
The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council brings together payers, providers, and technologists to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. healthcare organizations. The Healthcare Council provides a forum where all stakeholders can collaborate to educate the market on the how smart cards can be used for healthcare identity management and to work on issues inhibiting the industry.
Healthcare Council participation is open to any Smart Card Alliance member who wishes to contribute to the Council projects.
About the Smart Card Alliance
The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.
Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America.
For more information please visit http://www.securetechalliance.org.