What’s the latest buzz on health care? The United States could be lagging behind other countries when addressing the digital future of the health care business. For the past decade, European and Asian countries with nationalized health care systems have used smart cards to identify patients and track their medical records, insurance information, prescriptions, and reimbursements, according to a report in Newsweek.
The French for example, introduced their first smart card technology for health care called “carte vitale” back in 1998. The card contains every medical transaction of the patient, a record that is accessible by any physician or hospital seeing that patient.
The smart card approach to managing health care has impressed people because not only does enable medical records to become portable from one provider to another without the fuss of paperwork, but smart cards can use authentication technology such as PINs to verify that the person requesting access to an electronic record is in fact the person they claim to be.
The increase in security that smart cards provide is attractive in the U.S., a country that claimed about a half million medical identity thefts last year, according to a World Privacy Forum report. Identity theft leads to costly medical bills and fines. Last year new legislation passed increasing the fines for patient security breeches from $25,000 to as high as $1.5 million.
Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, which has been experimenting with the technology since 2003, might be the earliest adopter of the solution in the U.S. It plans to distribute 100,000 more smart cards in the next few months and has cut the average cost of $1.8 million to clean up medical records. The smart cards work out to about $4 per patient.
However the smart card solution is only really effective if it is utilized universally. Therefore Mount Sinai is hoping other New York City hospitals follow its lead.
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