Know Your Patient to Avert Medical Identity Theft

Published: Oct 30, 2020

Meta Description/Summary: Know your patient is a protocol that verifies the identity of the patient to ensure that no illegal or criminal activity is occurring. 

Almost every industry nowadays is facing the augmenting issue of identity theft. Ever since the drastic shift into the digital world, all the industries are using online methods to store their data. However, hackers and fraudsters have discovered ways to break the security system and get illegal access to sensitive data.

The medical industry is not safe from this plight either. Data breach and identity theft is a major distraction that the medical industry is facing, even at this time of on-going Covid-19 pandemic. 30% of the data breach reported has been of the medical industry alone. To counter these criminal activities, it is of utmost necessity to perform KYP, Know Your Patient, on all the patients.

Know your patient is a process of verifying the identity of all the patients to give them their required treatment. It is done to ensure that no fraudster or imposter is stealing anyone’s identity for illegal purposes. Let us talk in detail about what KYP is and how it has lent a hand in making the health sector safer. 

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Challenges Faced by Medical Industry

To secure the medical records, in 2009 an act called HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) was passed. This act requires the health sector to record all the significant data online. This may have secured the data from the conventional thieves but hackers are able to still get their hands on the important information of the patient and sell that information in the black market. 

In 2019, a report by Protenus Breach Barometer stated that the medical sector faced up to 41.4 million worth of patient data breach. This occurred due to a 49 percent increase in hacking. This rise in a data breach is still on the increase even in 2020. 

Criminals can use medical data for identity theft and get treated under someone else’s insurance. This way the victim has to pay a lot of money for someone else’s treatment. This can also result in the altered medical history of the victim which can also get them in trouble even with the law.

For example, if someone using a stolen identity has the use of illegal substances in their blood report, the victim can be blamed for it and can be arrested. The criminals can use the stolen identity to get access to illegal drugs for drug trafficking. Even the hospital or the insurance company can be sued for not verifying the patient properly.

In 1996, HIPAA regulation was passed. It is the USA patient identification act. The requirement of this act is that every person in the USA will be given a unique number. That number is to be used for the health system and it can be used to verify the patient’s identity. In the UK, an NHS regulation was passed that requires all the hospitals to verify the identity of all the patients before allowing them in treatment. It is a Know Your Patient regulation.  

It is said, according to research, that up to 90% of the medical sector in the USA starts to perform know your patient protocol, they can end up saving between 77 USD billion to 145 USD billion, per year. 

What is Know Your Patient Solution

As we have discussed before, know your patient is a procedure of patient verification. However, managing a large amount of data of each and every patient can prove to be a difficult task. Manually verifying a patient can be inaccurate and take up a lot of time. This can be a problem in emergencies. As the fraudsters have found digital ways to commit the crime, we also need to use the technology to fight this problem. 

Artificially intelligent, know your patient solution can help the healthcare industry in verifying their patients and eliminate the identity thieves altogether. All the patients have to submit their identifiers when getting registered. The patient’s identifiers could be their name, ID document, medical number, photo, DoB, driver’s license. Whenever the patient requires treatment or medicinal prescription, patient verification is performed. They are required to submit a selfie picture of themselves and a picture of their government-issued ID document.

The AI-based solution verifies the authenticity of the ID document and the selfie to be certain that these documents are real and not fake. After that, the selfie and ID document is verified against the data submitted at the time of registration. The data is extracted through OCR. 

To Sum it Up

Patient identification is a necessary process to beat the fraudsters disrupting the medical industry. They do not have to face the loss of money, lawsuits, and bad reputation of being victims of fraudsters and criminals. This process can be done within a few seconds and is more accurate than the manual methods of verification. With the help of knowing your patient protocols, the health industry can be more secure than ever. 

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