Given the current state of the global pandemic, healthcare services are looking for ways to evolve by using robust technologies such as identity verification software. In order to identify patients with more accuracy, companies often rely on this software to provide a fully automated and instant onboarding experience. Even before the onset of Covid-19, the demand for online identification systems for patients, in particular, was still dominant. Additionally, these systems help such companies stay in compliance with regulations like HIPAA and HITECH in the United States if they wish to avoid hefty penalties and criminal charges.
The Current Situation of Healthcare Sector
The last year brought cybersecurity on the center stage, with federal agencies like the FBI and HHS warning hospitals in October 2020 of an "increased and imminent" threat of cyber attacks to hospitals, fueled by COVID-19.
To emphasize this, some key statistics about the latest healthcare data breaches are listed below:
25% increase in healthcare data breaches as compared to 2019
Doubled healthcare data breaches since 2014
From a total of 500 healthcare records, 76 data breaches were reported every day in 2020
A total of approximately 29 million healthcare records were breached in 2020
Keeping these facts in consideration, it does not come as a surprise that the importance of identity verification through the KYP process has become a crucial stepping stone for the healthcare service industry.
Know Your Patient (KYP) Explained
Much like banks perform the KYC (Know Your Customer) process when customers wish to open a bank account or apply for a loan, KYP or Know Your Patient process involves the verification of patient ID to combat threats like medical identity theft. Laboratories, hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance companies are some examples of institutions that implement this process to safeguard the privacy of patients.
For the automated KYP process to begin, identity verification and biometric authentication solutions are integrated into the organization’s system. After integration, the following steps take place:
Patient uploads a selfie-and an image of their Id document
Data is extracted through OCR from the ID document and is matched with the information provided in the form
Through 3-D depth perception and liveness detection, biometric authentication is performed which verifies the patient’s facial identity
Patient age verification is also performed after verifying the DoB from the ID document
Medical Identity Frauds That Can Be Avoided Through KYC
With the help of identity verification and proper implementation of other KYP practices, hospitals, laboratories, and pharmacies can improve the quality and efficiency of patient service by protecting sensitive medical information. In this way, test results and prescription drugs will only be provided to the actual patients. However, if patient ID verification is overlooked, medical institutions can face devastating consequences.
Identity Theft and the Black Market
This kind of fraud occurs when fraudsters steal another patient’s PII to gain unauthorized access to their insurance benefits, prescription drugs, employment, or other financial benefits. Additionally, healthcare records are also sold on the black market for financial gain. To combat medical crimes through stolen patient credentials, many forward-thinking medical institutions have been using modern approaches such as biometrics for identifying patients remotely.
The most common types of cyberattacks faced by hospitals are Credential Stuffing and Account Takeovers. Some examples of such kind of crimes include the following:
Hacking servers to steal medical licenses and impersonate a doctor’s identity. Medical licenses on the dark web are being sold for around $250
Hacking the log-in information of an insurance company’s and finding a buyer to sell it to. The buyers can then have access to reset the credentials in the database in order to take a patient’s identity for claiming insurance.
Hackers can also steal personal health information and use it against patient’s as blackmail material
Without practicing KYP procedures, the hospital's access to patient details and records can be completely crippled. Automated identity verification software assists medical institutions in verifying patient age for prescribing drugs, protects against insurance frauds, lowers chances of illegal sale of drugs, and helps battle all kinds of medical identity frauds.