Advancements in biometrics could help fight medical identity theft, fraud

New technology could offer better protection from hackers and help payers identify false claims

As the healthcare industry regroups following the Anthem hack that exposed personal information of 80 million members, new biometrics technology is initiating a push to help secure medical information.

New technology companies are making a debut into healthcare with biometric security systems that identify patients using unique attributes on their fingers, eyes and face, according to Fortune. For example, Novant Health, a system with providers throughout four Southeastern states, began using RightPatient, a system launched in 2011 that reads an individual's fingerprints, veins and facial features in order to correctly identify a medical record. The system helps prevent duplicate copies of patient records that are vulnerable to hackers and "overlays," medical information that is mistakenly entered into another patient record. Another company, LifeMed ID, created a "smart card" with a chip that pulls up a photograph to help properly identify patients.

For payers, not-yet-released systems could help to curb false claims, the article said. LifeMed ID is developing technology that will alert an insurance company when a patient arrives and leaves his or her provider, which would help identify providers who submit fraudulent claims for visits that never occurred. Additionally, biometric systems would eliminate passwords and a central database, both of which are prime targets for hackers.

In the wake of the Anthem breach, experts have dubbed 2015 the "year of the healthcare hack," according to Reuters. Cybercriminals are transitioning away from banks and retailers and toward healthcare, an industry that is less secure and offers a more profitable trove of information. FierceHealthIT previously reported that on predictions that healthcare data breaches will increase in 2015.

As FierceHealthPayer: AntiFraud reported last week, personal information obtained through healthcare hacks open up numerous avenues of fraud that can linger for years due to the difficulty in detecting and stopping those schemes. Fraudsters often use health information to submit fraudulent bills, fill prescriptions or obtain care under someone else's name.

For more:
- read the Fortune article
- here's the Reuters article

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