Alliance Activities : Publications : A Healthcare CFO’s Guide to Smart Card Technology and Applications

A Healthcare CFO’s Guide to Smart Card Technology and Applications

Publication Date: February 2009

  • Click here to download the white paper.
  • Click here for information about the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council.

Healthcare is seeing a steady and increasing dependence on information technology that is rapidly transforming the practice of medicine and the delivery of care.

Technology is an ever-changing and evolving aspect of modern business. In healthcare, most agree that the use of technology is essential to achieving many of the milestones critical to healthcare reform. Three primary drivers are increasing the use of technology in healthcare:

  • The need to lower costs and create administrative efficiencies
  • The need to improve patient outcomes and enhance physician and patient relations
  • The need to meet increasing privacy, security and identity concerns, as a result of Federal and state directives mandating increased control over private information

For healthcare CFOs, the challenge is not only to secure the funding for new technology, but also to weigh the potential benefits of new and emerging technology against the costs. Serious consideration must be given to the consequences of technology adoption for legacy systems, life-cycle costs, and long-term technology evolution.

Smart cards are used worldwide in identity, payments, healthcare, security and telecommunications applications where personal identity, privacy, security, convenience, and mobility are key factors.

Over the past few years, smart card use in the U.S. healthcare sector has grown significantly. Current programs focus on patient identification: streamlining admissions, managing payments, and moving patient data from point to point. Four factors have driven smart card use to date:

  • Identification and patient authentication
  • Matching patients to their particular data
  • Synchronizing data from disparate sources
  • Security and access control

Smart cards are portable, secure, and can be leveraged to create closer patient alignments, generate higher patient satisfaction levels, and increase revenue for the healthcare issuer. Smart card technology is a reliable and proven solution that has had decades of use in other industries and is now making its mark on healthcare.

This white paper was developed for healthcare CFOs by the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council to outline the key benefits and business case for using smart cards for healthcare applications. The white paper outlines some of the major challenges faced by healthcare CFOs and discusses how smart card technology can provide innovative, practical and cost-effective solutions. Included in the white paper are an overview of the smart card use worldwide and discussion about how smart cards can be used in healthcare to:

  • Reduce cost
  • Improve patient identification and workflow
  • Reduce claims denials and increase revenue capture
  • Provide authenticated and authorized access to healthcare information
  • Assist with compliance to HIPAA privacy and security requirements
  • Improve facility and network security
  • Provide immediate access to life-saving information
  • Improve patient and physician satisfaction
  • Provide support for a national health information network

About the Health and Human Services Council

The Smart Card Alliance Health & Human Services Council brings together human services organizations, payers, healthcare providers, and technologists to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. health and human services organizations and within the national health IT infrastructure. The Health & Human Services Council provides a forum where all stakeholders can collaborate to educate the market on the how smart cards can be used and to work on issues inhibiting the industry.

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