According to the Federal Trade commission, 87,765 cases of medical and insurance related identity theft have been in reported in 2018. Medical identity theft is when someone uses your personal information (social security number, health insurance number) to fraudulently receive medical services, prescription drugs and/or goods, including attempts to commit fraudulent billing. If the thief’s information is mixed with yours, your treatment, insurance and payment records and credit card reports may be affected.
Medical identity theft is costly to consumers: Unlike credit card fraud, victims of medical theft can suffer significant financial consequences. One study found in 2015, reports that identity theft cost the average victim $13,500 to fix.
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Medical identity theft is a complicated crime to resolve: The health care providers or insurers rarely inform the victim about the theft. In general, victims learn about the theft of their credentials are more than three months after the crime and do not know when they became a victim.
Medical identity theft can have a negative impact on reputation: found by a study, many respondents said medical identity theft affected their reputation mainly because of embarrassment due to disclosure of sensitive personal health information. Many believed the theft caused them to miss out on career opportunities. Few said it resulted in the loss of employment.
Resolution of medical identity theft is time consuming: Because of federal privacy regulations, victims must be involved in the resolution of the crime. In many cases, victims struggle to reach a resolution.
Steps on how the U.S healthcare system can prevent medical identity theft:
Tell your patients how you’re keeping their data safe
Patient trust is at the heart of a successful patient-provider relationship. Share the steps your organization is taking to secure patient information, so patients feel reassured and confident in using their portal. Data security should be a key strand in your patient engagement messaging.
Invest in security tech and software
Verify patient identities to protect access to medical records. Secure log-in monitoring and device intelligence can help you confirm that the person trying to log in is who they say they are. When something doesn’t add up, identity proofing questions can be triggered to provide an extra check.
To implement this, the healthcare industry can also use biometrics to supplement existing identity-proofing solutions. Just as you might use facial recognition to unlock your Smartphone, there are now ways to authenticate your healthcare consumers’ identity using the same technology.
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Automate patient portal enrollment
You want your portal to be as secure as possible, but not at the expense of your patients’ time and effort. An automated enrollment process can eliminate the hassle of long, complicated set-ups and reduce errors at the same time.
Instill patient privacy in corporate culture
Not only should you educate your patients, but staff members working in any capacity with medical information in your practice must be trained on how to identify medical identity fraud.
Corrupted data must be dealt assertively and with proactive safety measures. The healthcare system providers can do very little to keep the data safe, if the staffs are not well trained or the patients are oblivious to the signs of an attack on their information, even if they have the best online security. Therefore, as a medical provider, the U.S healthcare system must make use of both digital and real-life training and protection in order to combat the most vicious fraud attacks.