While the digitization of healthcare records has been well-intentioned, it has also created an unintended consequence: medical identity theft.

In 2014, the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance found that incidences of medical identity theft had nearly doubled since a similar study was conducted five years prior. In light of this finding, it’s crucial that patients and providers learn more about this new phenomenon and how to protect themselves. Here are some ways to achieve that goal.

Dectction – Secure technology solutions are the leading financial investments among healthcare providers to detect medical identity theft. Along with secure IT, providers should implement a “red flag” system to identify duplicate demographic details and document suspicious behavior, like patients refusing to provide a photo ID.

Prevention – Sophisticated data encryption and smart card technology can help prevent medical identity theft by ensuring that only authorized providers are accessing digital patient information. Along with these measures, providers should implement and train employees in best practices for handling and disposing of confidential patient information.

Notifying the Patient – If a patient claims he or she has been the victim of medical identity theft, the provider should conduct an immediate and thorough investigation. If it’s determined identity theft occurred, providers must notify the patient and help to correct the record in question.

Mitigation – Healthcare providers should review the patient’s records for services performed, any supporting documentation of a patient’s identity and any possible inconsistencies. Then, the victim’s record should be corrected. In addition, providers should contact everyone who had access to the patient’s medical or billing records, such as labs or other care providers, so they can correct any inaccuracies. Providers should also review their obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act before reporting any debts to credit reporting companies.

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November 11, 2016 By Doctor Tipster