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Medical Identity Fraud in a Virtual Environment

Medical Identity Fraud in a Virtual Environment

Identity fraud is a security risk we read and hear about daily. Yet unless it’s happened to you, you might not think about its impact.

A hacker might steal your Social Security Number, open up a few credit cards, and leave you owing thousands of dollars to places you might not have heard of before.

But identity fraud can go deeper. And it can impact you in both your personal and professional life.

Imagine someone gaining access to an EHR file and using that information to obtain new healthcare services. Risks include:

  • Duplicate files - are you treating the patient correctly?
  • Billing problems - are you charging the right person for the correct procedures?
  • Prescription fraud - who is receiving the prescription?
  • Reputation issues - mishandling a case can have lifelong repercussions.

If medical identity theft was a problem before the pandemic, it grew tenfold in its wake.

According to a report by Forrester, COVID will forever change the face of healthcare, blowing all predictions made prior about the growth of virtual care. Forrester predicted virtual care to soar beyond 1 billion visits in 2020, which will cause major supply crises as medical practices struggle to keep up.

If you’re facing the challenges of moving to a virtual practice yourself, there are many things you’ll have to build into your structure to ensure patient security.

Patient validation - it’s more difficult validating a patient’s identity when everything is handled over video conferencing. New technology is being developed to ensure confirmation. For example, with one system, a patient confirms their identity with a photo of their driver’s license and a selfie before moving to the next process.

EHR safety - while you can control your internal files and who is accessing them, it’s more difficult to ensure patients do the same. If your patient uses a communal computer where multiple people have access, it opens up the possibility of medical identity fraud. It’s important to create standards that your patients will also have to adhere to in order to gain access to your systems. Your system and strategy are ultimately what’s most important to ensure safety for both of you.

A strong internal strategy - with so many safety concerns, now is the time to beef up your safety protocols. With technology changing rapidly, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. That includes paying attention to every process in your practice, from confirming you meet HIPAA standards, to ensuring you’re using the proper resources and tools.

As the world moves forward, and virtual medicine becomes the norm instead of the exception, how will you prepare for the changes coming your way?

For IT Strategy, Cloud Conversion, or Help Desk Services reach out to us at Silver Linings Technology 360-450-4759.