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E-healthcare benefits

The shift to electronic healthcare promises far-reaching benefits for all involved – from saving lives to saving dollars.

Growing the VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) community
“Electronic healthcare can make it easier and faster for consumers and health plans to detect fraud”
-Jennifer Gilburg, Director of Business Development, VeriSign Inc.
The key to success however, lies in convincing patients their online data is safe, as Jennifer Gilburg of VeriSign explains.

Electronic medical records (EMRs), online claims, personalized disease management, email advice programs, and other innovative online services are not only streamlining healthcare, but enabling patients to exercise greater control over their care and expenses. By reducing medical errors and providing faster access to accurate, complete patient information, electronic healthcare and online medical records can save lives and improve patient outcomes.

Insurance companies, medical practices, hospitals, self-insured employers, and other service providers stand to gain sizeable benefits through the adoption of these online services and transactions. Storage and paper costs, which can run tens of thousands of dollars each month for a medium to large practice, can be drastically reduced or eliminated.

And electronic healthcare can make it easier and faster for consumers and health plans to detect fraud. Access to complete medical records may make it easier for health plans to identify a fraudulent claim. Claims could potentially be validated by the patient electronically before the health plans issues payment.

From improved quality of care and responsiveness to new levels of efficiency and cost savings, e-healthcare is poised to have a positive effect on the future of healthcare.

Addressing Confidentiality Concerns
This unparalleled opportunity hinges on whether patients believe that their online confidential information is safe from prying eyes and criminals. Recent data shows that the healthcare industry has a long way to go to create the level of patient trust and confidence needed to enable e-healthcare to succeed.

While other industries have made inroads in establishing consumer trust – online retailers for example – today’s consumers don’t feel the same way when it comes to their medical data being online. A survey conducted in 2007 by Forrester Research, Inc., showed that one-third of commercially-insured consumers are not sure if their health insurer is fully protecting the privacy of their personal information. The survey also showed that consumers with privacy concerns are nearly twice as likely to switch plans.

Consumers are worried about unauthorized access to personal medical information as well as identity theft. According to Columbia University Professor Emeritus Alan F. Westin, a leading authority in privacy research, approximately 73 to 80% of the public will want to be assured of robust privacy and security practices by online personal health record services, if they are to join those offerings.

Setting a Higher Standard for Online Security
Piecemeal security measures are no longer enough to deliver the high standard of protection consumers demand. Healthcare organizations need a multilayer solution that delivers a systematic approach to security across the entire online transaction to mitigate threats at multiple levels. A multilayer solution establishes a continuum of protection for patients that addresses the essential components of the transaction: patient identity protection, confidential data protection, Website authentication, and fraud detection.

Using this approach, complementary security layers such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, two-factor authentication, and fraud detection, fortify each other to create a solution that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

SSL authenticates the organization to the patient or consumer – consumers can validate visually that they are visiting a trusted and authentic site before they enter their personal information. Two-factor authentication and fraud detection authenticate the patient to the company with strong authentication and fraud prevention. Deploying these complementary technologies in tandem ensures the highest level of security and confidence – key to building patient trust in online services.

With layered security, hospitals, practices, health plans, self-insured employers, and the other participants in the healthcare lifecycle can build consumer trust in online medical transactions to set the standard for 21 st century healthcare.

Written by: Jennifer Gilburg, Director of Business Development, VeriSign Inc.

Source: Executivehm

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