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Survey: Healthcare invests more in medical identity fraud prevention, detection

Budgets are still geared toward IT systems, although personnel is becoming a strategic priority

The healthcare industry is devoting more money toward preventing and mitigating medical identity fraud, the majority of which is still going to new fraud detection software, according to a survey published by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA).

Slightly more than 45 percent of survey respondents indicated their organization is spending more on medical identity fraud prevention and mitigation, while half of respondents said their spending trends had remained the same.

The majority of that spending is still devoted to IT systems that detect, prevent and mitigate fraud; however, the healthcare industry is beginning to place a greater emphasis on personnel. Although 39 percent of respondents still rank software and hardware as their top priority, 36 percent said personnel ranked highest, and an additional 36 percent ranked personnel as their second-highest priority.

"With nearly three-fourths of respondents indicating personnel as one of their most important [priorities], this leads us to believe the industry recognizes that regardless of the systems you have in place, human talent and knowledge are critically important in fighting medical identity fraud," the report states.

However, when it comes to hiring, special investigations units represent both the top and bottom third of human resource spending. Additionally, 30 percent of respondents said their organization spent between 60 and 100 percent of their fraud prevention, detection and mitigation budget on software. Comparatively, 31 percent of organizations devoted just 20 percent of their budget toward personnel.

A study published by MIFA in February indicated that medical identity theft had increased 22 percent since 2013. Throughout 2015, the healthcare industry has been a target for hackers, as insurers such as Anthem, Excellus and CareFirst have weathered attacks that exposed the personal health information of millions. Earlier this year, Ann Patterson, senior vice president and program director for MIFA told FierceHealthPayer: Antifraud that breaches like the one announced by Anthem can open up multiple inroads to healthcare fraud.

For more:
- here's the MIFA survey

Related Articles:
Study: Medical identity theft increased 22 percent since 2013
Anthem hack opens multiple inroads to healthcare fraud
Details emerge in Anthem hack
CareFirst hack compromises info for 1.1 million consumers
Expert: News of Excellus hack shows healthcare sector better at detecting breaches