Help Prevent Medical Fraud with ID Verification
August 3, 2015
Healthcare computer networks have become big targets for hackers because they hold a lot of personal information about patients. In the past year, health insurance companies like Anthem, Premera Blue Cross, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield experienced data breaches that affected millions of customers. Last year in August, hackers from China infiltrated a database that belonged to Community Health, one of the largest hospital groups in the United States.
Example of What Hackers Do With Medical Information
Hackers sell the stolen information from healthcare facilities online, and affected patients then have to worry about medical fraud.
The most recent medical fraud scare involves UCLA Health System’s computer networks, which were accessed by hackers, according to an official statement made earlier in July. The hack might have exposed the personal and medical information of 4.5 million people.
The exposed personal information includes names, birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers. The compromised medical data includes medical record numbers, Medicare and health plan ID numbers, and information about medical conditions, procedures, diagnoses, and test results. UCLA Health System says that this private and confidential patient data has been accessed by the hackers, but there is no evidence yet that the data has been taken.
According to the preliminary findings, financial information has not been accessed. UCLA Health System is facing criticism for failing to encrypt patient files, which made it easier for the hackers to gain access to them.
Back in October 2014, UCLA Health System first noticed suspicious activity on its networks. The university hospital asked authorities to investigate, and they found that the hackers were able to access UCLA Health’s networks back in September. In May 2015, investigators confirmed that the hackers were able to access confidential patient information, but they are not sure if the patient information was viewed. UCLA officials believe that the hackers are sophisticated and may be based outside the US.
Security experts say that the data breach must go back a few years because UCLA Health System doesn’t see 4.5 million patients in a single year. The university hospital has begun to notify affected patients of the breach and is offering free credit monitoring for a year. Affected patients will also receive a $1 million insurance reimbursement policy.
Hackers are Targeting Healthcare
As hackers continue to target healthcare facilities like UCLA Health System, the healthcare industry as a whole needs to focus on preventing medical fraud by protecting patient records.
One step the healthcare industry can take to prevent medical fraud is to verify their patients’ identities. Electronic identity verification makes it harder for people to commit medical fraud using stolen identities bought on the online black market.
Healthcare facilities that use a form of identity verification can protect their patients from the complications that come with medical fraud, including false claim payments, and incorrect patient treatments.
With identity verification, healthcare facilities will also know that their patient documents won’t be accessed by unauthorized individuals, which will protect them from lawsuits related to HIPAA violations. By validating patient identification information with ID verification, healthcare facilities can protect their organizations and patients from medical fraud.