When the Patient is an Imposter (U.S. News and World Report)

August 18, 2014

Check in for the first time at a clinic belonging to Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois, and prepare to have your picture taken. Tiny cameras on the front-desk computers snap portraits of each patient to pop into their electronic health records. Henry Ford Health System in Detroit is also taking patients’ photos. The extra step, which allows the staff to quickly match a patient to his or her record, “supports our patient safety and quality of care initiatives,” says Loyola’s chief integrity officer Cari Reed. It also helps foil would-be identify thieves. A study issued last year by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, a new industry group made up of health care organizations, insurers and other interested parties, estimates that close to 2 million Americans were affected last year by medical ID fraud, in which one patient impersonates another to get free medical care, for example. The study puts the rate of growth in new cases at about 20 percent a year. Full Story.