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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Protecting Patient Identities Effectively to Prevent Medical Fraud


Protecting Patient Identities Effectively to Prevent Medical Fraud

The healthcare sector is rapidly moving towards IT transformation and sees the development of solutions that can completely automate their procedures. They have enabled them to provide value-based care. Systems like electronic health records have gained immense importance in the organisation and maintenance of patient data. Other systems like medical apps have enabled healthcare providers to impart care virtually. However, increased access to medical information has given rise to medical identity theft. It is estimated that nearly one in three medical identities are compromised. This is mainly because of the fact that cybercriminals and fraudsters are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and sophisticated. Moreover, medical information fetches a high price in the black market as it contains all the important information for fraudsters to commit identity theft.
It is, therefore, necessary for healthcare providers to develop methods to protect their patient information. The surmounting challenge of protecting patient identities can be tackled through modern tech solutions as well. Manual methods of recording patient data have long been rendered inefficient and costly. Facilities that are using computer systems have outdated and slow methods of recording data. It has increased the number of duplicate records, thus causing inefficiencies in the recording of medical data. Such data is non-transferable and is often siloed to a specific department or unit in a hospital. There is an increased need for healthcare providers to be able to share patient information to avoid duplicate testing or treatments and, most importantly, prevent medical fraud.

The Increasing Role of Virtual Care

As healthcare systems move toward an IT restructuring, providing healthcare to patients is no longer confined to hospitals and clinics. Patients are now able to get assistant virtually as well. This has helped patients who are living in remote areas and/or do not have access to proper healthcare facilities and doctors or caregivers. Virtual technologies in healthcare have played an important role in providing inclusive healthcare to individuals that were previously removed from receiving quality care.
Virtual care has been made possible, in part, because of the fact that there has been an increase in access to mobile devices and the internet. With an increased amount of connectivity, people are now able to communicate across continents within seconds. With the help of different interactive medical apps, patients can keep track of their health, seek immediate medical assistance if their condition worsens.

Keeping Patient Records Safe

As the access to patient information increases, it becomes increasingly important for healthcare providers to protect patient identities. Moreover, to avoid medical identity fraud, healthcare centres must implement identity authentication methods in order to identify and verify patients. Particularly in virtual care users cannot be properly identified as there could be anyone at the other end of an online patient care system. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which hospitals can effectively verify patients, and protect their medical data.
Health management systems must be designed to prevent fraud. Encrypting sensitive patient information is of the utmost importance. Another manner in which healthcare providers can protect against fraud is to implement digital identity verification systems. These systems can enable real-time identification of patients thus allowing for instant verification without compromising the efficiency of virtual healthcare systems. The healthcare industry is highly regulated as it is. Implementing proper measures to prevent medical identity theft also falls under their obligations and they must, therefore, observe KYC compliance requirements. They can use biometric authentication methods to verify the patient’s identities. They must also use systems like VPNs and SSL encryption methods to protect against any data breaches.
Moreover, electronically kept medical records must observe some security measures to avoid unwanted access. Personnel must have proper authorisation to access them. They should also comply with confidentiality regulations that also prevent frauds from accessing the data.
As information sharing becomes easier with the proliferation of technology, it is up to the healthcare providers to take care of patient privacy. It must be seen that their information and health data is share and disclosed with their consent to the healthcare staff or professionals who have to provide treatment and care to them.

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