Identity Takes Center Stage As Healthcare Goes Digital

Complaints about healthcare will never cease. After all, the industry is one where illness combines with significant bills and payments, two things that are pretty much a negative for everyone who needs medicine or medical care.

However, one must admit that the delivery of healthcare is becoming more convenient — thanks to online and mobile technology services, and the disruption and innovation of multiple players within that industry. That convenience comes at a price, though: the risk of not only insurance fraud, but regulatory violations and data breaches, which can expose the most personal information about millions of consumers, as well as leave healthcare providers and retailers at risk for ruined reputations and ruinous lawsuits.

In a new PYMNTS interview, Reinhard Hochrieser, vice president of product management at authentication services provider Jumio, spoke about how to get digital ID right in this evolving space — and how good digital ID could spark even more efficiencies in healthcare as it becomes ever-more digital. Call it “Know Your Patient [KYP],” he said, an obvious play on Know Your Customer (KYC) from the world of financial services. The general idea is the same (solid, as-seamless-as-possible authentication provides security and confidence for vital transactions), but there are major differences between healthcare and financial services, of course, when it comes to digital.

IT Legacy

For instance, much of healthcare still relies on “outdated IT systems,” Hochrieser told PYMNTS. “They rely on IT they bought 20 or 30 years ago, and it’s pretty hard to integrate new technology” into many legacy systems. That, in turn, provides “a greater target for fraudsters,” who are drawn (like flies to honey) to the rich treasure of personal consumer data available via healthcare records — data that can be used to create fake identities and financial accounts, among other things. On top of that, phishing and other forms of fraud, including methods that may be hard to spot by poorly trained healthcare staff, create risks as well.

Indeed, according to Jumio, some 2,550 healthcare breaches have taken place during the last decade, breaches that have put some 175 million medical records at risk. That’s where a more robust authentication regime for healthcare comes into play.

Take the growing area of online prescription retail. Obviously, there is a significant interest in making sure the people ordering and accepting delivery of the drugs are who they say they are — and that includes making sure they are of age. The alternative, of course, amounts to an illegal drug operation conducted via online and mobile channels, a juicy target for regulators, law enforcement and politicians.

“You are not just looking at government IDs,” said Hochrieser about securing this emerging part of eCommerce. “You have to make sure it’s [the correct patient] sitting in front of the computer or mobile phone.”

Biometrics Role

The Jumio authentication technology brings biometrics into play to ensure that.

The authentication effort comes down to ID data points, biometrics and computer intelligence. A consumer who tries to make an online purchase of prescription medicines might be asked to prove their age by — depending on the retailer — submitting a scan of their driver’s license, for instance, or entering the last four digits of their Social Security number, with that merchant then doing a background check. Jumio’s authentication technology asks for those ID details, and requests for the shopper to submit a selfie. That provides another layer of proof that the consumer is who they have said they are — not a parent, grandparent or an older, ne’er-do-well uncle, cousin or friend.

To authenticate the consumer, Jumio does not use information from government databases, which are not exactly accessible to anyone. Instead, the company relies on its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, and its experience with analyzing more than 150 million documents. Furthermore, Jumio has human experts ready to review any borderline cases, with the results then fed back into the system so it can get better, he explained.

The need for online authentication services in healthcare will continue to increase, Hochrieser told PYMNTS, as more services, including medical consultations and record-keeping, go online and become digital. In addition, the emerging 5G mobile network technology will certainly lead to more digital upgrades in healthcare (efforts are already underway), and that, too, will increase the demand for authentication, including via biometrics.

No big change comes without sparking dozens of other changes, and that’s the story playing out right now as digital and mobile continue to disrupt healthcare.



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