The Smart Card Alliance released a brief for federal health care policymakers on the importance of reliable identification technology in the market.
“With the $17 billion federal government investment planned for health care IT as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, we thought this was the right time to bring health care identity management to the forefront,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “If you look at the problem from inside the health care 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.”
There are a number of reasons patient identification should be a priority for health care providers, including reducing medical errors caused by mis-identification and decreasing redundant testing which can lead to lower costs. There should also be concerns with protecting patient’s privacy.
“Dependably accurate identification and authentication of patients seems like something that should already exist in health care, but studies show it is a major problem,” said Vanderhoof. “And if we are aiming for wider interchange of information, there must be a way to uniquely and securely authenticate that person across the health care system, including over the Internet, in a secure and privacy sensitive way.”
“Effective Health care Identity Management: A Necessary First Step for Improving U.S. Health care Information Systems” is a one-page, brief that explains the problems with identity management in health care 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.
The brief is available here.