Medical Identity Thieves Meet New Detective: The Palm Reader
According the the National Survey on Medical Identity Theft, about 1.4 million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2009. Almost half of these victims did not learn of the theft until one or more years after their medical records were taken over and 'blended' with the thief's. The time it takes to discover medical identity theft is one reason why this crime is on the rise; it's easier to get away with.
But a healthcare technology company, HT Systems, has come up with a brilliant way to reduce this crime fast: a biometric palm reader called PatientSecure. No abracadabra here. The PatientSecure won't foretell your future, but it will insure that your continue to get the healthcare you're entitled to, by taking a digital scan of your palm with a biometric reader that uses an infrared light to see the veins in your palm.
Vein patterns are about 100 times more unique than finger and thumb prints, and they are much easier to verify. The way the system works, once a patient registers into his health care system or hospital, all he need do is offer his hand to scan and all of his health records will be called up onto a system-connected computer.
The PatientSecure is not only effective at reducing medical identity theft, as healthcare membership and social security numbers are not required for identification, but PatientSecure reduces errors caused by duplication of names in healthcare databases.
And the PatientSecure system pulls up information instantly, shortening the wait for all patients, but most importantly, for trauma patients, who now have to answer a long list of questions about medical history. Even if a trauma patient is unconscious, her palm can be read and her medical history will be immediately accessible.
The device has been available since 2007 and is being used by about 50 hospitals and hundreds of associated medical clinics and doctors offices nationwide. More than four million patients have registered their palms.
PatientSecure sounds very cool. (There are several security applications for this device, aren't there?)