Medical ID Theft On the Rise

Posted June 26, 2015

Study: Medical ID Theft Highest Ever. Half Surveyed Would Find a New Provider if They Had Security Concerns about Current One

An annual study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA) found there’s been a 22 percent increase in medical ID thefts just since last year with victims having to shell out $13,500 or more to put things right.

In her article on healthcareitnews.com, Erin McCann discussed study findings with security experts to get their views on medical ID theft from both the point of view of the healthcare provider and ID theft victim. The following has been excerpted from McCann’s piece and edited to fit our format. You may find her complete article by clicking on this link.

Medical data even more important than credit cards

[From] a business case point-of-view, shirking one’s security duties is just bad news. First off, it’s not like having your credit card number stolen where you can make a quick call to your bank, cancel the charge and have them issue you a new card. This is personal medical data that can’t be tracked by credit monitoring services. “As humans, we’re more concerned about whether or not a credit card number has been stolen,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of security consulting firm Secure Ideas. “And there’s such a lack of concern about my medical records, my personal data.”

ID theft causes everything from embarrassment to loss of income

In the February 2015 Ponemon study, 89 percent of victims said the identity theft “affected their reputation mainly because of embarrassments due to disclosure of sensitive personal health conditions.” What’s more, nearly 20 percent said it caused them to miss out on career opportunities.

Impact on the healthcare organization

Take the average cost most medical identity theft victims have to pay out, and consider their collective impact on your healthcare organization. Half of respondents say they’ll go to another provider if they had concerns over it.

There are things, though, healthcare organizations can do, and are doing, that are helping, [said Ann Patterson, senior vice president and program director for MIFA.]

Healthcare organizations beginning to stir

There’s huge interest for some members in developing technologies that would address the notification, alerts and monitoring specifically for medical identities, similar to what credit monitoring does for those affected by financial identity theft.

“We do see healthcare organizations and health plans making moves for instance to do things like remove the Social Security number as part of the patient identifier,” said Patterson. They’ve also seen a considerable uptick in biometrics and investing in technologies that would help with accurate reconciliation.

ThreatMetrix

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