Health Care, identity theft

Biometrics for patient ID gaining momentum

Biometric technology combats medical identity theft (Business Week)

Data breaches at hospitals may cost the U.S. health-care industry as much as $7 billion a year, according to the Ponemon Institute, a Michigan-based organization that studies privacy, data protection, and security. And that doesn’t count the unknown cost of fraudulent use of information from lost or stolen insurance cards and drivers licenses. HCA Holdings (HCA) hospitals in London and many U.S. providers have a solution: using biometric technology to verify patient identities. “If you don’t have a good way of authenticating legitimate users,” says Ponemon Chairman Larry Ponemon, “whatever you do on the other side isn’t going to be good enough.”

Biometric devices that recognize people’s physical traits—think iris scanners or palm vein readers—are no longer the stuff of spy movies or border control.

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