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4 Strategies Hospitals Use to Prevent Medical Identity Theft Cases

The US healthcare system has been plagued with several issues over the years. The lack of price transparency, interoperability issues, sky-high prices, and the lack of a standardized patient identifier are just some of them. One of the more concerning, and increasingly common, issues is medical identity, affecting more and more healthcare providers and patients. While providers are already facing huge losses due to the pandemic, they need to mitigate them by reducing preventable costs. One viable solution can be to reduce medical identity theft cases, and doing so will bring several benefits.

RightPatient-can-reduce-medical-identity-theft-cases

Let’s take a look at how medical identity theft happens, how common it is, and some strategies that can prevent it and mitigate losses.

How do medical identity theft cases happen?

Medical identity theft can occur in many ways, but it can usually be traced back to stolen patient information or records – a consequence of healthcare data breaches. There’s a reason why medical identity theft cases are so common: hackers are focusing more on healthcare data breaches because stealing and selling patient information is quite lucrative.

After a hospital suffers a data breach, the hacker(s) then tries to sell the stolen patient information on the black market. Unfortunately, there are many buyers available for many reasons, and they are also willing to pay high prices – up to $1000 per record!

After buying the stolen patient data, the fraudster assumes the identity of the patient. This can happen within healthcare facilities as well as during telehealth sessions (which are surging in popularity right now).

The majority of hospitals have no effective patient identifier and therefore they fail to red flag the individual, leading to medical identity theft. The scammer then illegally uses the victim’s credentials to obtain prescription drugs, medical equipment, and healthcare services, charging the victim for the services. Not only that, but since the fraudster uses the medical record, their information will be recorded within the EHR (Electronic Health Record) and can lead to patient safety issues down the line.

While that was a simple example, many complex medical identity theft cases are occurring almost daily.

Is medical identity theft common?

The numbers don’t lie –more patient records were breached in 2019 compared to the prior three years combined! Moreover, 9.7 million patient records were affected by data breaches this September. There’s no doubt that the majority of these patient records will be used for medical identity theft, as experts are also predicting a sharp increase in the near future.

RightPatient-prevents-medical-identity-theft-with-accurate-patient-identification

Hospitals must ensure that they are preventing medical identity theft cases to guarantee patient safety and reduce associated litigation costs. Let’s take a look at some strategies that can help prevent medical identity theft and all of its consequences.

4 strategies hospitals can use to prevent medical identity theft cases

Follow the rules and regulations

First and foremost, the healthcare facility must ensure that they are properly following the rules. For instance, HIPAA mandates that there should be some technical, administrative, and physical safeguards present to protect patient information, known as PHI (Protected Health Information).

While this might seem like a straightforward strategy, a lot of healthcare providers fail to ensure HIPAA compliance. This not only leads to data breaches and medical identity theft down the line, but also incurs HIPAA penalties. HIPAA itself is a multi-layered and complex law that requires continuous effort to ensure compliance.

Fortunately, healthcare organizations can use HIPAA Ready, a robust HIPAA compliance software, to reduce the administrative burden. It streamlines HIPAA compliance, ensures training management, keeps all the HIPAA-related information in a centralized location, and also helps conduct internal audits. 

By ensuring HIPAA compliance, healthcare organizations can detect security gaps and address the vulnerabilities, mitigating data breaches and, in turn, medical identity theft.

Devise a policy to enhance security

As previously mentioned, HIPAA has several requirements and requires that networks and devices are secure at all times. To do that, hospitals must come up with and follow a strict device policy so that sensitive patient information is not leaked inadvertently. While a BYOD (bring your own device) practice might be more flexible, it will inevitably lead to data breaches and leakage of sensitive information.

Thus, the following tips will help enhance security:

  • Only allow official devices for storing sensitive information
  • Only allow logging into secure networks
  • Encourage usage of VPN
  • Ensure data encryption at all times
  • Keep logs of access requests to track any suspicious activity

Train employees regularly

Staff members such as registrars and nurses are the ones who regularly access patient data. Training them will provide them with the knowledge to avoid suspicious emails, as that is the primary weapon of hackers. Moreover, providing regular training – especially if it includes information on recent data breaches – can be beneficial. As previously mentioned, HIPAA Ready can help with training management.

Ensure accurate patient identification

Even if a data breach occurs, medical identity theft can be prevented if healthcare providers can red flag the fraudster during identity verification. That is exactly what RightPatient does.

 

RightPatient is the leading touchless patient identification platform used by several caregivers. It verifies identities by using patients’ photos. After scheduling appointments, patients need to provide a personal photo and a photo of their driver’s license. The platform matches them and verifies their identity remotely, red-flagging fraudsters. This system is ideal for telehealth sessions.

During inpatient visits, the scammer is red-flagged when the platform identifies that their face does not match the saved photo attached to the medical record, preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

Hospital-using-RightPatient-to-improve-patient-identification

Improve the Accuracy of Patient Identification and Boost your Profitability

Patient identification errors have been a long-term problematic part of the U.S. healthcare system and there are no signs of slowing it down. It causes problems for all involved and is one of the topmost issues jeopardizing patient safety. Still, the importance of improving the accuracy of patient identification is often underestimated.

Reason to improve the accuracy of patient identification

To put things into perspective, every year, almost 195,000 deaths occur because of medical errors. Ten out of 17 of these deaths occur because of patient identification errors, according to a comprehensive study

Hospital-using-RightPatient-to-improve-patient-identification

Patients may suffer financially from identity theft. For example, a person who did not even go to a hospital may receive an invoice stating that they did – a classic case of mistaken identity. Patients may also be mixed up due to common names and features such as age, city, DOB, etc. All these incidents have a ripple effect on healthcare providers – the bottom line, reputation, and performance may be impacted as well. 

However, there are solutions available, that are used by leading healthcare providers to improve the accuracy of patient identification. The benefits of RightPatient to providers and patients: 

Benefits of accurate patient identification

Before the usage of patient identification platforms such as RightPatient, patients were commonly misidentified due to issues such as duplicate records, overlays, common names and demographic information shared with other patients (name, DOB, etc.), and so on. The fact that larger hospitals can have more than a million records stored in their EHR  systems does not help either. It leads to mistreatment, wrong medical decisions, and wrong medications, based on inaccurate or incomplete medical history arising from duplicate records or overlays.

When an accurate patient identification platform is used, misidentifications become a thing of the past – the platform can easily identify the patient after enrollment. All the patient needs to do is scan their biometrics and their accurate medical record is identified within seconds.

All the medical data, medication, lab test results, and discharge information can now accurately be stored in the same medical record, improving patient data integrity. This helps build up a robust database of accurate, complete, and error-free patient records, overcoming the data integrity challenges caused by misidentification. 

A biometric patient identification platform like RightPatient also prevents medical identity theft. As the medical records are locked with the patient’s photo and biometric signature, an impostor cannot assume the identity of the patient. The impostor will be red-flagged immediately, as their biometric features will be different from the patient’s one, stopping medical identity theft in real-time. 

RightPatient also helps to improve the revenue cycle and reduces denied claims. As the patients are identified before a service is provided, there is no chance of identification errors – the correct patient receives their appropriate invoices every time, saving lots of costs associated with claim denials and this significantly improves the revenue cycle.

Some statistics

RightPatient helps to prevent duplicate record creation. For Atlanta-based hospital Grady Health, it has reduced duplicate rates by up to 90%. According to AHIMA, the financial impact of duplicate records can be up to $40 million. That’s a lot of money RightPatient can save! 

Final words

RightPatient is the leading biometric patient identification platform that locks medical records with the patient’s photo and biometric data. This ensures that unauthorized parties cannot access the medical record without the patient’s biometric scan. The platform also ensures that the accurate medical record is presented every time the patient goes to the hospital. It helps to improve the accuracy of patient identification in all the hospitals it is being used. Do you want to improve your facility’s patient identification and save millions along the way?

protecting patient data in healthcare

How Doctors Can Transmit Patient Data Securely

How Doctors Can Transmit Patient Data Securely

Doctors must take precautions when sharing patient data. Learn more about how doctors should protect your PHI in this guest post from Heather Lomax. (Photo courtesy of pxhere)

The following guest post on protecting patient data was submitted by Heather Lomax.

Communication efforts in the last few years have greatly advanced between doctor and patient. Instead of having patients drive out for a visit or make drawn-out phone calls every time something needs to be discussed, some doctors’ offices have started to use online portals and email correspondence with patients. These options are extremely efficient, but they also place patients at a higher risk of medical identity theft. Therefore, special measurements need to be taken in safely transmitting patient data.

PHI Data and Email Encryption

First and foremost, patients need to make sure their devices are encrypted when they access medical data. Not operating on such a system places data at risk for theft with ease. Therefore, portals offering medical data need to be encrypted as well. Patients should be made aware that if their computers at home are not secure, then they place their data at risk there as well. Sending patients emails also requires another degree of encryption.

Different Types of Email

Several types of emails exist when it comes to safely transmitting data information with patients. For web-based email applications, doctors’ offices and patients alike need to use accounts with HTTPS encryption. This method is the only means by which web-based email is secure. The email is sent to a patient should also be encrypted using either PGP encryption methods or Symantec Digital IDs. In both of these aspects, each email comes with its encryption.

Use Cloud Services for Fax and Email

HIPAA regulations make specific claims about how data should be transmitted between office and patient. One of the methods to use for this communication relies on cloud services for both faxes and emails. These cloud services have their own firewalls and encryption procedures, and they make certain that data only goes to a specific location. More often than not, a specific receiver has to acknowledge that they accept a fax. A VPN access code can be used for this process.

Biometric Identification

As passwords become obsolete and even unsafe for healthcare data security, biometric identification is steadily rising in practice when it comes to accessing sensitive information. With passwords comes the potential of breaches in security, even with the most carefully crafted codes. However, with the use of fingerprint analysis, retina scans, and facial recognition software, it’s nearly impossible for identity fraud to take place since these characteristics cannot simply be imitated. And not only does it reduce the risk of billing fraud – it also prevents deadly medication errors, improves response rates to medical emergencies, and expedites health information exchange services (which will be discussed in the next section).

Use Three Different Forms of Health Info Exchange

When in doubt, doctors’ offices should use three, distinct methods of Health Information Exchange (HIE) with patients and other medical offices. The first type is directed change, where data can be sent and received securely through an electronic medium between providers and coordinated support care. The second option is a query-based exchange, which offers providers the opportunity to find and request information from patients and other providers when unplanned care takes place. Finally, doctors’ offices can use consumer mediated exchanges, a method which allows patients to have control over data and how it is used among different providers.

Conclusion

A great deal of options is available when it comes to transmitting electronic patient data. Rather than rely on flimsy means of protection, alternative options with tighter security like encrypted care, biometric identification, and HIE paths should be implemented instead. If your practice or hospital can introduce even one of these methods as part of their data transfer strategies, you’ll notice a great improvement in workplace efficiency as well as security for your patients.

Author bio:

Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Blaze Systems. She writes articles for a variety of medtech blogs, discussing solutions for optimizing healthcare data protection and clinical technology.

medical identity theft prevention

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

Medical identity theft can be just as damaging to hospitals as it is to patients. Learn more about what hospitals can do to protect themselves from falling victim to medical identity theft. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Hospitals are generally considered to be a place to seek refuge — a safe haven for both employees and patients alike. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Incidents of medical identity theft are becoming more and more common. Issues involving improper use and disposal of data, hacking, and theft result in not only adverse financial consequences but can also even have negative impacts on healthcare and personal well-being. Identity theft is something that every hospital needs to be aware of and prepared for — these steps can be helpful in preventing medical identity theft and ultimately reducing your hospital’s risk.

Reduce risk associated with personal patient information

The use and storage of patient’s social security numbers is the main source of vulnerability when it comes to identity theft. Data breaches and entry errors can mean that a patient’s information can fall into the wrong hands — compromising the safety of both the individual and the hospital itself. While much of the fraudulent use of patient information comes from stolen or leaked data, verbal or physical forms of sensitive patient information can also end up in the wrong hands. Hospital employees should take care to never discuss patient information in public areas, or with friends and families. In addition, physical forms including patient charts and records (even if they only contain the name of the patient) should be safely used and stored.

Ensure that secure methods are used in storage of patient health information

Every health organization should take necessary measures in order to ensure the safety and security of patient information. An investment in appropriate health IT may be costly up front, but it could end up providing endless savings — both financial, and otherwise — in the long run. Additionally, the use of a unique health safety identifier (UHSI) is a great measure to strengthen information and data security, with positive results extending all the way to the patient.

Avoid storing personal information of patients unless absolutely necessary

While many healthcare providers perceive that patient information — including social security numbers — must be stored for billing and insurance purposes, this simply isn’t the case. The storage of sensitive information (like social security numbers) isn’t always needed, and unnecessarily doing so may pose a risk for the patient and the hospital.

Dispose of patient information responsibly

Just as sensitive information should not be stored unless absolutely necessary, it is also imperative that patient information be disposed of in a responsible manner. Outdated or unused medical information, forms, and billing data should be shred or erased completely when no longer needed.

Assemble and utilize an advisory committee

In any healthcare setting, it is beneficial to have a diverse team of leaders that comes together to regularly review and assess security issues and vulnerabilities. By raising awareness and discussing perceived risks, hospital leaders can be well-informed when it comes to making decisions and implementing efforts to reduce risks and protect sensitive information.

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Respond appropriately to issues and concerns

Not only can an advisory committee help prevent against identity theft, but the designated team of experts can be essential in addressing issues promptly and adequately. Utilization of an inventory system that tracks all processes and systems that contributed to the security breach can allow for the hospital to pinpoint the weaknesses and make necessary improvements. Once an issue is discovered, the advisory committee will be better prepared to — while looking at the data inventory — prioritize areas of concern and make adjustments that are needed.

Educate the patients themselves

As many hospitals strive to do the best they possibly can when it comes to securing patient information, actually sharing statistics and suggestions with the patients themselves can further improve the security of that information. Patients should be encouraged to keep their cards and information in a safe place and should be told to take caution when sharing sensitive details. Patient participation is crucial when it comes to combating identity theft and security tips and suggestions can be posted as signs throughout the hospital — or given to the patients in a brochure.

Medical identity theft is increasingly becoming a great threat to the safety of patients and health care providers. While there are many ways that patient information can end up in the wrong hands, there are fortunately many ways that both hospitals and patients can prevent this from happening. By working together and considering these tips, hospital staff members can ensure that the information of their patients can remain as secure as possible.

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce RiskAuthor bio: 

Joanna Sommer is the Senior Editor for InformedMag and is passionate about security and tech. She has been working in the home safety and security field for 5 years. Joanna loves to travel and enjoys going to hot yoga and Barre classes. She is dedicated to creating articles that both educate and help people make an informed purchasing decision.

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How to Prevent Your Medical Information from Misuse

How to Prevent Your Medical Information from Misuse

Medical identity theft can seriously threaten your physical and financial health.

The following guest post on protecting your medical information from misuse was submitted by Christine DiGangi.

When it comes to personal information, your health records are about as personal as it gets. And while it may not seem as immediately damaging as someone hacking into your bank account, medical identity theft can seriously threaten your physical and financial health.

How a Thief Might Misuse Your Medical Information

Think of all the information you’ve handed over at a doctor’s office: Name, birth date, address, Social Security number, insurance information, family medical history — these are all things someone can use to impersonate you. This makes health care providers targets for hackers. What can they do with your medical data? Plenty. They can open fraudulent financial accounts, commit crimes (besides identity theft), file a fraudulent tax return (and get the refund), buy prescription drugs with your insurance (and maybe sell them, which goes back to the crime problem), claim federal benefits like Social Security, use your insurance to get medical care and countless other things, all in your name. The results of such fraud can end up on your criminal record, medical history or credit report.

Say someone got their hands on your medical information and they used it to get medical treatment. That person’s health data could end up in your medical history and affect your future care. What if that person maxed out your insurance coverage, leaving you without the coverage you need? What if medical expenses that person generated don’t get paid? That could result in a collection account on your credit report and cause your credit score to drop until you dispute the error or resolve the identity theft. There’s a lot at stake. We asked identity theft expert Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and author of “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves,” for his top tips on preventing your medical information from misuse. Here’s what he said.

You Don’t Have to Share Everything

A lot of people provide their Social Security number and other sensitive details to their healthcare provider without asking if it’s necessary, Levin said. Just because they ask for it doesn’t mean they need it.

“Find out how they intend to secure it,” Levin said. “Remember, they already have your medical insurance information and often require a credit card.”

When You Do Share Sensitive Information, Do It Carefully

Once you hand over your information, you no longer control it, so think about the way you’re providing your doctors with records. Levin said you should never send medical information to someone you don’t know unless you’re the one who contacted them.

“Know precisely to whom you are communicating and confirm that their requests are reasonable,” he said. “Remember, you should never send sensitive information by way of email or text. Only fax if you know who is standing next to the machine as you are faxing.”

Use Common-Sense Security

Lots of health care providers have gone digital, meaning you can access your records or pay your bills through an online account. While password security is important for all online accounts, it’s especially crucial when you’re setting your credentials for a medical website. And if you do end up with physical paperwork that includes details on your health, insurance or any other personally identifiable information, keep it in a safe place. If you want to discard it, use a cross-cutting shredder, Levin said.

More Resources on Medical Identity Theft

Until a fraud has been corrected (which can take months or even years), you may suffer some credit damage, which is another reason to try and prevent the fraud from happening and act quickly as soon as you detect it. While working toward a resolution, you’ll want to focus on what you can control, like practicing the safety tips we just described or improving other aspects of your credit. For example, you could work on making on-time payments and paying down debt, which are good things for your credit scores. If you’re having trouble accessing credit because of identity theft, getting a secured credit card might be able to help you keep your credit file active, because a secured card generally does not require a credit check.

Monitor your credit reports for unfamiliar collection accounts and other signs of identity theft, in addition to keeping an eye on your mail and insurance for bills regarding care you didn’t receive. The Federal Trade Commission has a guide on how to request and review your medical records for accuracy, as well as how to resolve identity theft.

How to Prevent Your Medical Information from MisuseChristine DiGangi is a reporter and the social media editor for Credit.com, covering a variety of personal finance topics. Her writing has been featured on USA Today, MSN, Yahoo! Finance and The New York Times International Weekly, among other outlets. You can find her on Twitter @writingbikes.

 

prevent patient fraud in healthcare

5 Ways to Prevent Patient Fraud and Identity Theft

5 Ways to Prevent Patient Fraud and Identity Theft

Preventing patient fraud begins with a thorough understanding of how to protect your identity.

The following post on preventing medical ID theft and patient fraud in healthcare was submitted by Meghan Belnap.

In this digital age, we can purchase anything with a click, transfer money from one bank account to another in a split second, and reconnect with people from anywhere in the world. There are so many great advantages to the internet age but unfortunately, there are serious drawbacks as well.

As technology advances, so do the dirty tricks played by criminals in an attempt to commit patient fraud and identity theft. With so much of our medical history available at our fingertips in digital form, it’s easier than ever to have that stolen from us. Here are five simple ways to avoid falling victim:

Password Protection

Hackers are skilled at decoding passwords. If the one you use is not a unique combination of numbers, letters, and symbols, you are putting yourself at a higher risk. If your password is still hacked from one site, it is important that you are not also handing them your password for everything else as well. For example, if your patient portal account password is fraudulently obtained, you do not want that to also be the password you use for your bank account. It requires keeping track of numerous passwords, but it is worth it to use different ones for each site you log in to within your digital health network.

Swipe With Caution

Card skimmers are very popular tools used by crooks to gain access to your account information. Each time you swipe a debit or credit card at a hospital or any other A.T.M. machine or gas pump, the machine reads the information stored on the black strip on the back of the card. This houses important information and it is all a hacker needs to wipe out your bank account. When you approach these machines, look at them closely. Does the area that you insert the card into seem loose or ill-fitting in any way? Does the paint color and material of it match the surrounding area? If not, there may be a skimming device attached to the machine. If you are suspicious, try giving it a tug. Is it loose? If you experience this, contact local law enforcement right away.

Monitor Accounts

If you have access to online banking, take advantage of it. Set up alerts that notify you when funds have been used over a certain amount or in ways unusual for your typical spending patterns.

Be Careful With Your Card

Keep an eye on your cards at all times. Statistics show that on average over 12 million U.S citizens identify as fraud victims annually. Professional FBI experts who are board certified behavior analysts specialize in investigative criminal or terrorist actions. While help is offered to those that are victim of patient fraud and identity theft, take the extra precautions to keep yourself safe by implementing smart daily precautions.

Identity Protection Services

There are a variety of resources available at your convenience which specialize in monitoring your social security number, name, and other personal information that could be used for patient fraud or identity theft. Most companies charge a fee to provide this service but if it prevents even one breach, it will be money well spent.

While there are numerous ways someone can gain access to your personal information, there are by far more things you can do to prevent it. Be cautious with your private details. Keep things secure both online and physically with the proper protection required. Whether it’s a safe box in your closet to keep your social security card, health insurance ID, birth certificates and other documents out of reach, or strong passwords that keep hackers out of accounts, it is possible to avoid patient fraud.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

3 Unexpected Ways Medical ID Theft Can Harm Your Pocket

3 Unexpected Ways Medical ID Theft Can Harm Your Pocket

prevent medical ID theft

Learn more about the top three unexpected things you need to know to protect your medical identity.

The following guest post covering the impact of medical ID theft was submitted by Michael Rogers.

Are you the recent victim of medical ID theft? Do you know someone who recently discovered their identity had been stolen? If you or someone you know has experienced someone stealing your identity, then you know how unsettling and upsetting it can be. But what you might not realize in the moment is that having your medical ID stolen actually can result in major problems for your bank account. Read on to learn our top three unexpected things you need to know right now about protecting your medical ID and how a stolen identity can result in problems in your pocket. Knowing is power — and you can do something about it before too much damage is done. Read on:

Tip #1: Data Breaches Mean Bad News for You

Did you know that healthcare organizations admit that they don’t have enough security to withstand many cyberattacks? Data breaches to healthcare organizations are at a loss of millions and are under constant attack by malware. What does this mean for you? It means that your medical data is vulnerable, and when an online thief gets ahold of your Social Security number and other medical ID information — including passwords to your healthcare accounts — then you could begin to see not only your healthcare savings account empty out for procedures and products you didn’t authorize, but you also may see your bank account empty out. That’s because many of us use the same passwords over and over again. So don’t be surprised if someone steals your medical ID information and then uses that information to break into your bank and credit card accounts. Change your passwords regularly and encrypt your online sessions to protect yourself.

Tip #2: Unauthorized Procedures

Many of us have healthcare savings accounts. They are a great way to get tax-free cash into an account and to use that cash for doctor’s visits, surgeries, procedures and even products like HIV-testing kits and pharmaceuticals. When someone steals your medical ID information, however, that means they can get access to this account. They can then go online and begin purchasing items that qualify for the account. They also can begin the process of filing insurance claims for fraudulent surgeries and procedures.

Tip #3: Exhausted Medical Benefits

When you become the victim of medical ID theft, you may find that your insurance benefits are no longer available to you when you need them. In most of the cases ID theft victims start to panic and do not know where to start from. If you have any doubts, are any reasons to suspect being ID theft victim you should immediately contact either your local insurance provider or healthcare organization in order to minimize possible losses. Many victims don’t realize this until something happens — like they are rushed to the hospital — and they find their insurance has been denied. Online thieves will steal your information so that they can get the procedures they need in your name. This kind of fraud can take years to unravel — coming at a huge out-of-pocket expense to you. When you need to go to the hospital, you need to go. You can’t wait. And if you’re the victim of fraud, you’ll likely be paying tens of thousands of dollars of that you don’t have because your insurance has been denied.

Protect and Empower Now

Sometimes knowing how you could be vulnerable to a medical ID attack is the first step. When your online presence is threatened and someone steals your social security number or insurance premium information, then not only are you at a big financial risk for procedures and bills you shouldn’t have to pay for — but those breaches could lead to breaches in other areas of your finances, such as your bank account. As you move forward, remember to monitor your medical ID information and medical online activity regularly. The more you know about what is happening in your medical or insurance accounts online, the more quickly you will be able to see when something isn’t quite right. In addition, remember to change your passwords regularly, and don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts. With an estimated 2.3 million Americans falling victim to medical ID theft in 2014, it’s possible that you also could experience this situation. So stay ahead of the game and protect your pocket with these three key tips.

Michael Rogers- is experienced Director of Operations, manager and educator from USInsuranceAgents.com. Michael is not only well-educated insurance professional, but also very interesting interlocutor, with deep knowledge of modern arts and sports.

Protect-a-child's-medical-identity-with-RightPatient

Are Children Eligible to Enroll in Biometric Patient ID Solutions?

Protect-a-child's-medical-identity-with-RightPatient

A patient access representative takes a photo of a child using an iris recognition camera to protect her medical identity.

The rapid spread of using biometric patient ID solutions has helped to increase safety, reduce duplicate medical records, eliminate healthcare fraud, and strengthen patient data integrity. As most healthcare providers who implement biometrics for patient ID quickly realize – patient participation is the most important factor to ensure deployment success and realize the strongest return on investment.

Traditionally, we see the use of biometrics as a strong security solution to protect our own medical identities, but what about children? Are they eligible to enroll in a biometric patient ID platform and realize the same protection as adults? The short answer is: It depends on the biometric patient identification solution that you select.

Often overlooked as a key demographic that is just as susceptible to the perils of medical identity theft and inaccurate identification, protecting a child’s medical identity is just as, if not more important than protecting our own identities. On a recent podcast with Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center, I asked Eva how important it is to protect a child’s medical identity and what is the earliest age that a child can have their medical identity stolen? Here is what she said:

“Protecting a child’s medical identity is definitely a growing concern in healthcare. And, it isn’t only protecting their medical identity but their identity as a whole. People generally do not believe that (medical ID theft) is a crime that affects children, but I can tell you that we (Identity Theft Resource Center) handle and re mediate cases of child ID theft on a daily basis. It’s really about ensuring that a child’s personal information doesn’t make it into the hands of a thief. The crux of the problem with child medical ID theft is the time of discovery…the most common ways that people find out they are victims of ID theft is because they are trying to accomplish something and they hit a barrier.

Use-RightPatient-to-protect-medical-records-of-even-your-young-patients

If you think about it, children just don’t engage with the outside world the same way adults do – they aren’t out applying for credit, trying to get a driver’s license (before the age of 16) and go through background checks. All of these external things that pop up and make us take notice of our identities, they just don’t happen with children, so that’s where it becomes a parent’s responsibility. For parents, it’s all about taking as many proactive steps as you can. Some states allow you to freeze your child’s credit, and you can certainly always request your child’s medical records to go through them and ensure their accuracy. As a parent, you need to read the Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) after your child has a pediatric visit.”

I then asked Eva what the earliest age is that a child can have their medical identity stolen. She offered this response:

“I hate to say this because it almost sounds like fear mongering but it’s absolutely true – it can actually be before the child is born. If a criminal just decides to make up a social security number that hasn’t been issued yet and starts to use it, it doesn’t necessarily make it back to the social security administration office so your child is born, you go to get a social security number issued to them and you receive it but a criminal has already been using it – so child ID theft can actually happen before they are born.”

Clearly, there is a sense of urgency to ensure a child’s medical identity is protected from the moment they are born! The problem that some healthcare providers face who have implemented certain biometric hardware modalities for patient ID is that not all are eligible for children to enroll. Instead, some biometric patient ID solution providers recommend that a child not enroll until they reach a certain age, or until certain physiological attributes are mature enough to be recognized by a hardware device. This essentially excludes children from leveraging the identity protection and security advantages of using biometric patient ID for identification at the age where they may perhaps be most vulnerable to having their identities stolen. 

The key for any healthcare provider seeking to implement biometrics for patient ID is to deploy a solution that has the ability to capture a child’s unique biometric profile at the youngest age possible and then use that as their identity credential for the rest of their lives without the inconvenience of re-enrolling as a child matures or the security risks of not being eligible to enroll at all.

Protecting a child’s medical identity is among the many reasons that we recommend the use of photo biometrics for patient identification in healthcare. Children as young as 10 months old can enroll and since the iris is a human physiological attribute that forms at 10 months of age and remains static throughout our lifetimes, it represents a viable and stable credential for accurate identification. 

As more healthcare organizations around the world evaluate the use of biometrics for patient identification, it is critical that all possible patient options and scenarios are addressed to maximize return on investment and ensure that any patient, no matter how young or old, can take advantage of the benefits to protect their medical identities. 

For a full version of our podcast with Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center, click here.

prevent medical identity theft

Medical Identity Theft – Detection & Prevention Tips

Medical Identity Theft – Detection & Prevention Tips

Follow these simple tips to prevent the dangers of medical identity theft from jeopardizing your patient safety.

The following guest post was submitted by Ryan Moalemi. 

In this day and age, people get increasingly restless if they don’t get their daily ‘fix’ of substances. The main cause for medical identity theft is trying to get drugs which you otherwise can’t get. Drug users who are addicted to certain drugs need a special pass if they want to get those drugs. If you don’t have this pass, you cannot buy the drug.

Medical Identity Theft isn’t something that occurs rarely. Unfortunately, it’s a daily happening, and it can get pretty nasty if left unchecked. There are numerous ways to protect yourself against Medical Identity Theft, but you’ll also need to know how to react if it happens. When people are desperate, they can do desperate things, going as far as stealing your identity to buy themselves drugs. Here are some tips on how to prevent and detect Medical Identity Theft:

Medical Identity Theft – What is it?

Medical identity theft isn’t much different than regular identity theft. However, the purpose here is to buy drugs, get health care at your expense, etc. Anything related to the medical field is a reason for people to steal your identity if they can’t get what they want. Most countries don’t have pictures of patients on their medical cards which is why it can be pretty easy for people to steal your identity. Of course, there are countries where are the details are listed and available to the medical staff to prevent theft and make it easier for them to go through your details.

Protecting your Personal Information

If you want to avoid having your identity stolen, you will need to know how to protect your personal information. The first step is to keep as much information about yourself to yourself except in cases where it’s necessary to share. Don’t let too many people know all of your personal information. You can also check out some Identity Theft Protection to get even more protection. There are various measures you can take to do this, but the best thing is not to share too much.

Stay Away From Common Fraud Schemes

The most common fraud schemes involve offers which you should take instantly because it’s excellent. If you don’t take the offer, you will regret it because it won’t be good anymore. Don’t fall for these tricks no matter how good they sound. That’s exactly it – they sound too good to be true. Also, if you happen to run into a fraud scheme or an offer, be sure to check out all the information regarding the company or people issuing the offer. You want to find legitimate information. If your research comes to fruition and you find out everything is legit – the offer is legit as well. Otherwise, stay far away from that offer and turn it down.

Tips to Detect Medical Identity Theft

While there are some methods of detection which can cost you money, the most common one is simply by constantly checking your purchase history. Visit the hospital where you get your medication and ask them if there were any purchases on your account. You don’t need to do this all the time – do it only when you suspect that someone might have stolen your identity. Also, always keep receipts with you and keep track of your purchase history.

Responding to Medical Identity Theft Incidents – Checklist

The correct way to react to medical identity theft incidents is to report everything to anyone that might help you out. This involves the hospital you visit, police, etc. Also, if you already ran into problems with identity theft, it is the prime time you start keeping your private information protected. Any possible holes that you might have left out could potentially lead to additional medical identity theft. Keep copies of your medical bills, medical records and everything. This way, you’re minimizing the chances of it happening again.

Conclusion

Medical identity theft can lead to many problems if not handled. Things tend to get complicated as more time goes by so it’s best to resolve the issue immediately upon noticing that something isn’t right. Be careful of who you give your personal information to, and stay away from shady offers!

learn more about the impact of medical identity theft on patients and the dangers to patient safety

New Podcast: Medical Identity Theft – What You Should Know

learn more about the impact of medical identity theft on patients and the dangers to patient safety

Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center joined us for our latest podcast centered on the topic of medical identity theft.

The following post was submitted by Jeremy Floyd, VP of Sales with RightPatient®

Identity theft is a term used to describe all types of crime in which someone illegally obtains and uses another person’s personal data in a way that involves fraud or deception, usually for some sort of economic gain (U.S. Depar It is a devastating, horrible crime resulting in huge financial losses and often irreparable reputation damage for the victim. 

Medical identity theft is defined as the act of stealing another person’s insurance information or name in order to illegally obtain medical services, prescriptions, and file claims with an insurance provider. It is a devastating crime that could have serious repercussions for both a patient and a medical provider. Before moving on from this post with the “it will never happen to me” philosophy, you may want to invest time to educate yourself on the effect medical identity theft could have on you or your loved ones, including your children. 

Were you aware that identity theft affects approximately 15 million people in the U.S. per year? Did you know that thieves can steal your child’s social security number BEFORE they are even born to commit medical identity theft? (Wait, what?) Have you heard that more hospitals and medical centers in the U.S. are investing in biometric patient identification solutions to prevent medical identity theft at the point of service?

We had the pleasure of catching up with Eva Velasquez, CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center about the perils of identity theft and dug into more detail about the horrors of medical identity theft during our discussion. What you will discover after listening to our brand new podcast is that identity theft can be prevented and there are a lot of resources available to consumers to assist them if they have been victimized. 

Download a copy of the podcast here and listen to it on your commute, or wherever may be convenient. Have an idea for a podcast that centers on the topic of patient safety, patient identification, revenue cycle management, or infection control in healthcare? Drop us a note at: info@rightpatient.com with your idea and a suggested guest!

We hope you enjoy this podcast and walk away a little smarter about identity theft. Many thanks to Eva Velasquez and her staff for their time and expertise!

biometric patient identificationJeremy has worked in the biometrics industry for nearly a decade and has real world experience with fingerprint, palm vein, finger vein, iris and face recognition technologies. He currently oversees the RightPatient™ Healthcare division of M2SYS Technology, including sales, business development and project management. Before taking over the Healthcare unit, Jeremy spearheaded the growth of the core biometrics division, working closely with Fortune 500 clients like ADP, JP Morgan & BAE Systems to implement biometrics in large identity management projects.