Sunday, June 15, 2008

Evaluating Medical ID Theft

ONC has awarded $450,000 to Booz Allen Hamilton to assess and evaluate the scope of the medical identity theft problem in the U.S. The purpose of the project is to examine how health IT can be used to detect and prevent medical identity theft.

Medical identity theft is a specific type of identity theft which occurs when someone uses another person’s identifiable health information, such as insurance information or medical records, without the individual’s knowledge or consent to obtain medical goods or services or to submit false claims for medical services.

Dr. Robert Kolodner, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, has noted that medical identity theft stories are being documented at an increasing rate, bringing to light serious financial, fraud, and patient care issues. Health IT can be an important tool to combat the threat of medical identity theft.

The first phase of the project will include developing an environmental scan to assess the scope of the problem that will serve as the baseline for developing prevention, detection, and remediation strategies. This phase will examine the stakeholders who are affected by medical identity theft and their issues, the impact on the healthcare industry, and examine the gaps where there are no reliable measures

A one day town hall meeting will be held in October 2008 in the Washington D.C., area during the second phase of the project. The meeting will bring together approximately 100 participants from both public and private healthcare stakeholders to share knowledge and experience with experts from other economic sectors that deal with medical identity theft. The meeting will explore how medical identify theft should be considered and addressed in a health IT environment.

The third phase of the project will result in a final report and roadmap scheduled to be released next winter summarizing key issues and possible next steps for the Federal government and other stakeholders.