Telehealth Adoption Requires Modern Identity Verification

August 17, 2020 – This is the golden age of telehealth, with demand anticipated to rise 64.3% in 2020, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. It’s also been a magnet for online fraud and identity theft. Many of these vulnerabilities exploit some of the inherent weaknesses in the healthcare […]

– This is the golden age of telehealth, with demand anticipated to rise 64.3% in 2020, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report.

It’s also been a magnet for online fraud and identity theft. Many of these vulnerabilities exploit some of the inherent weaknesses in the healthcare systems, many of which are still utilizing paper-oriented systems to organize patient records. But it’s also apparent that many healthcare providers are not adequately trained to protect online patient data.

Moving to an online identity verification solution during initial patient enrollment offers a number of compelling advantages.

Efficiency

Automated identity verification solutions arm medical staff with the latest patient information during preregistration and at the point of service. Typically, online identity verification is used when new patients create their accounts. The ability to instantly access patient data from a centralized database enables providers to more efficiently deliver patient care.

Online identity verification can also facilitate swifter processing of insurance claims. When patient data including proof of address is accurately captured during the identity proofing process, this will translate into reduced billing costs and lost invoices. This can even impact collection costs. When the correct information is captured upfront, it’s easier to follow up on accounts. This efficiency also helps the patients by expediting payments and dramatically reducing claim denials, thanks to accurate data capture (name, Social Security number and date of birth).

User Experience

Like most modern enterprises in 2020, onboarding new customers is becoming increasingly important to the bottom line for healthcare organizations that want to embed fraud checks to ensure patients are who they claim to be but without creating extra friction that can frustrate users.

Online identity verification simplifies the onboarding process by streamlining the new account creation and identity proofing processes. This starts by letting users verify themselves from a smartphone, computer or tablet. Better identity verification solutions give the user the flexibility to take a picture of a driver’s license or other government-issued ID, which means the user can create a new account, anytime, anywhere.

A big advantage of online identity verification is speed. Thanks to biometrics, AI and advanced OCR technologies, the entire verification process takes less than a minute which helps optimize conversion rates and user satisfaction.

Data Privacy

As healthcare organizations increasingly automate their systems, introducing online identity verification can potentially introduce data privacy risks if the data is not managed appropriately.

Medical records sell for up to $1,000 each on the dark web — 10 times more than the average credit card data breach record — because they contain a wealth of personal information.

While it is not mandatory for online identity verification providers to comply with PCI DSS and ISO 27001 standards, they must protect all the high-value data they handle from cybercriminals.

It’s no longer sufficient to use antivirus or anti-malware software. Sensitive information must be stored, processed and transmitted with strong encryption.

Often identity verification solutions can better protect patient data because they have been vetted by established third parties (e.g., PCI DSS) and have invested in strong encryption protocols designed to keep data safe, secure and private.

Compliance

Further complicating the demands on the healthcare industry are an expanding array of regulatory requirements from HIPAA to know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML). Modern online identity verification solutions can help healthcare agencies comply with these mandates by providing AML screening services which vet new patients against exclusion lists including the Office of Inspector General list, all State Excluded Medicaid and Medicare Provider lists, the System for Award Management list, and Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions lists. While the California Consumer Privacy Act exempts certain types of health data, the law will still bear significant consequences for the healthcare industry, and will affect some aspects of the personal data collected and processed by healthcare organizations.

That’s why it’s increasingly imperative to thoroughly vet online identity verification solution providers to ensure they are also compliant with relevant regulations. A security lapse on their end could trigger compliance headaches for you in the form of hefty fines, a damaged reputation, or worse — exclusion from reimbursement programs.

Fraud Deterrence

Medical identity theft is on the rise thanks to recent large-scale data breaches. This form of identity theft is perpetrated by fraudsters who steal personal information to obtain medical services or to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare/health insurers. In July 2020 alone more than 30 data breach incidents, each affecting more than 500 people or more, were reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. Many industry experts believe that medical identity theft will continue to skyrocket in the COVID-19 era because healthcare organizations tend to not adequately invest in IT security.

Online identity verification can provide a significant fraud deterrent to medical identity theft since the process requires a government-issued ID document, an authentic selfie and a liveness check to ensure the patient is physically present. This is a far cry from simply requiring the user to complete an online form and provide their name, address and Social Security number (most of which is available on the dark web for pennies). The added benefit of identity verification is that a 3D face map is created in seconds during the selfie-taking process which is a digital representation of the patient’s face. This same face map can then be used to confirm the patient’s identity before telemedicine consultations or writing a potentially lethal prescription.

As telemedicine and online healthcare services continue to evolve, the advantages of online identity verification and biometric-based authentication will continue to increase. It’s time to abandon paper-based and manual processes and adopt modern biometric-based approaches to establishing a patient’s digital identity. These methods can improve patient satisfaction while helping healthcare organizations deter fraud and meet compliance mandates.

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Written by Dean Nicolls, Vice President of Global Marketing, Jumio

About Jumio

Jumio’s mission is to make the internet a safer place by protecting the ecosystems of businesses through cutting-edge online identity verification and authentication services that quickly and accurately connect a person’s online and real-world identities. Jumio’s end-to-end identity verification solutions fight fraud, maintain compliance and onboard good customers faster. To learn more, visit https://www.jumio.com/.

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