Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council Submits Comments for 'REBOOT: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT,' Points to Smart Card Technology as Best Option for Securing Access to EHRs


PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., June 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Using smart cards for identity and authentication can provide the foundation for secure and privacy-sensitive use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council says in its comments submitted for "REBOOT: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT."

"REBOOT: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT," is a white paper released in April by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). It outlines concerns with current federal health information technology (health IT) policy, including increased health care costs, lack of momentum toward interoperability, potential waste and abuse, patient privacy, and long-term sustainability.

The Healthcare Council submitted its comments to Section IV of the white paper: "Long-Term Questions on Data Security and Patient Safety Remain." The white paper states:

"Being proactive in anticipating and planning for patient safety concerns is a critical part of the long-term success of EHRs. Providers unsure about protecting the security of patient data will be more likely to opt out of EHR programs. Additionally, patients will be less likely to engage with their EHR if they feel their information is not secure or care is negatively affected. If unaddressed, these issues could seriously undermine the program." (1)

In its comments, the Healthcare Council points to problems with identity management and authentication as the major issues undermining the secure use of EHRs.

"Today, there is a fundamental identity management and authentication problem in healthcare. We have no way to properly and securely identify patients and healthcare providers, match healthcare records, and identify those that have authorized access to them," said Michael Magrath, Gemalto, and chair of the Healthcare Council. "If we are going to do it right and architect a safe, secure, and interoperable health IT infrastructure, it is critically important to address both provider authentication and patient authentication concurrently."

To solve the healthcare identity management problem, the Council recommends the healthcare industry utilize existing federal initiatives and standards and move to smart card-based identity management and authentication. For healthcare providers, this can be accomplished in the form of Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and PIV-Interoperable (PIV-I) cards, smart card-based electronic identity credentials already used in several other government identity programs. For patients, identity management with smart health ID cards can significantly improve patient quality of care, administrative efficiency, revenue collection, and legislative compliance.

"We firmly believe that smart cards provide the easiest, most cost-efficient, secure, and user-accepted method for solving the healthcare identity management problem," added Magrath.

Read the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council's full comments in response to "REBOOT: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT" by visiting http://www.smartcardalliance.org/pages/publications-healthcare-council-comments-on-reboot.

For more information on smart card technology and healthcare, visit the Healthcare Council's Healthcare Identity Resources webpage.

(1) "REBOOT: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT," Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), April 16, 2013

About the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council

The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council brings together payers, providers, and technologists to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. healthcare organizations. The Healthcare Council provides a forum where all stakeholders can collaborate to educate the market on how smart cards can be used and to work on issues inhibiting the industry. Healthcare Council participation is open to any Smart Card Alliance member who wishes to contribute to the Council projects.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org.


CONTACT: Deb Montner or Megan Shamas Montner & Associates 203-226-9290 dmontner AT montner.com mshamas AT montner.com dmontner@montner.com. mshamas@montner.com

Source:Smart Card Alliance