The Smart Card Alliance Health and Human Services Council supports the collective effort by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) to identify and address the challenges of health care and medical identity theft outlined in its white paper, “Secure Patient Identification: Feasibility of a Security Role for Subscriber ID Cards.”
The Alliance agrees with the conclusion in the white paper that “subscriber identity tokens” 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.
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%
- 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
WEDI is an organization that advocates the use of health IT to improve health care information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency and to reduce costs of the health care system.