The Obama administration’s drive to implement electronic health records (EHRs) should have strong identity management tools to ensure privacy and security of the records, members of a panel of providers, vendors and policy experts said today.
The coming health information technology policies and standards are to include protections for patient privacy and security and safeguards against medical identity theft. Achieving those goals could be advanced by identity management tools, such as strong authentication standards and smart cards, according to panelists at an event in Washington today organized by the Smart Card Alliance and the Secure ID Coalition. Both groups represent vendors of identity management programs.
For example, patients checking in to Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City are assigned a smart card that contains their photograph and a digital summary of recent clinical information. By delivering the information to doctors providing care, the card helps improve care and reduce medical errors. The card also has proven to be critical in reducing fraud and identity theft, which in turn decreases errors in payments and in patient care, said Paul Contino, vice president of IT at Mount Sinai.
“If you don’t catch the errors at the registration desk, you will see dramatic effects downstream,” Contino said.
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