The Affordable Care Act sought to drive efficiency for healthcare organizations and provide patients with more visibility into their information, thereby empowering them to make better decisions about their health and the care they receive. Patient portals have become the vehicles to connect patients to healthcare organizations, satisfying more than 87% of patients who want electronic access to their health records.
While patient portals provide an opportunity for healthcare organizations to increase patient engagement and loyalty, they also open a door for criminals to steal medical identities if not secured properly. Medical identity theft is significantly impacting patients and organizations across the healthcare ecosystem—and it’s a problem that grows with increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). Concerns for privacy and security of health information can prevent patients from adopting patient portals, or worse yet, prevent them from sharing complete information about their health.
While the healthcare industry focuses on integrating electronic medical records into various systems and processes to better serve patients, criminals see a ripe opportunity to steal patient data and profit from vulnerable, unprotected health systems. Medical identity theft is a growing risk to healthcare organizations and the patients they serve. Medical identity theft accounts for 43% of all identity thefts reported in the U.S., and that number is growing at a rate of 21.7% annually.
The recent, rapid growth in medical identity theft is fueled by potential financial gains for criminals. Because medical identity theft goes undetected twice as long as other types of identity theft (it takes an average of three months to detect), criminals have more time to monetize stolen information. Delayed detection occurs due to healthcare organizations’ lack of detection tools and patients’ inability or lack of discipline to check explanation of benefit (EOB) statements. Data