Smart Card Alliance Supports WEDI Research Paper on Securing Patient Identities with Smart Cards
Princeton Junction, N.J., December 17, 2014 – The Smart Card Alliance Health and Human Services Council strongly supports the collective effort by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) to identify and address the challenges of medical fraud and identity theft outlined in its recently published research paper, “Secure Patient Identification: Feasibility of a Security Role for Subscriber ID Cards.” The Alliance agrees with the conclusion in the research paper that “subscriber identity tokens[i]” such as smart cards can be an effective tool to reduce medical identity theft, improve privacy, combat fraud by both claim submitters and patients, and enable deterministic patient matching in provider systems.
WEDI is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency and to reduce costs of the American healthcare system. WEDI’s research paper can be downloaded at http://www.wedi.org/docs/resources/secure-patient-identification-research-paper.pdf?sfvrsn=0.
“Healthcare fraud costs the U.S. about $75 billion[ii] a year. According to WEDI, implementing smart card technology could cut fraud costs for patients and providers by a third, or $25 billion annually,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “The research paper highlights fraud and medical identity theft reduction as some of the major benefits of implementing smart cards for patient identity verification. The Smart Card Alliance was pleased to contribute to the development of this research paper and to provide insights into the potential impact of smart card technology on the U.S. healthcare industry.”
Devin Jopp, Ed.D, president and CEO of WEDI, added: “Enacting meaningful change in healthcare requires the dedicated collaboration of interdisciplinary partners working together and WEDI was honored to convene leading thought leaders like the Smart Card Alliance and many other stakeholders in this effort. WEDI’s work on health ID card technology has been widely adopted in the industry and we believe that the new framework positions the use of smart technologies as we look ahead in healthcare.”
Smart patient health cards are based on smart card technology, which contains secure microprocessors that can encrypt and securely store and protect a patient’s personal health information. The use of a smart patient health card can have a strong set of benefits to the healthcare community, including:
- Positive patient identification. Currently, patient records are matched from different providers and different times using probabilistic methods such as matching on name, address, birth date and other data. Error rates may be 10 to 15 percent
- Reduced medical identity theft. Estimates in 2012 indicate 1.85 million patients are victims of medical identity theft annually
- Improved coordination of patient health records, especially from different providers
- Potential for more accurate, complete, longitudinal personal health records from different providers and different times, with increased privacy
- Improved patient safety and reduction in redundant tests
- Reduction in claim fraud in the billions of dollars
The Smart Card Alliance also agrees with WEDI’s statements in the research paper that smart card technology can achieve the benefits outlined in current legislation, particularly H.R. 3024, Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2013. The Act would establish a pilot program to develop a secure Medicare card using smart card technology to protect seniors’ personal information, prevent fraud and speed payment to doctors and hospitals.
Smart Card Alliance members that contributed to the WEDI research paper included Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance; David Batchelor, CEO of LifeMedID, Inc.; and Michael Magrath, director, program management and operations for identity solutions at DrFirst, Inc. and former chair of the Smart Card Alliance Health and Human Services Council. For more information on the Smart Card Alliance Health and Human Services Council, visit http://www.securetechalliance.org/activities-councils-health-and-human-services/.
[i] Identity tokens are defined in the research paper as “an Identity token, such as a smart card, in this paper is an internally secure microprocessor or a secure computer application, identifying one or more persons, with ability to communicate, authenticate a biometric, encrypt and decrypt, and sign a digital signature. A smart card or key fob would meet the functional and security requirements”
[ii] The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes, Institute of Medicine, 2012.
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.
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