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Michigan healthcare providers turn to biometrics for patient data security

They will be implementing a platform called PatientSecure, which scans a patient's palm vein pattern and links the patient to their unique medical record. The technology also aims to provide an accurate identification of every patient, prevent fraud and human errors, and reduce administrative costs for healthcare providers.

To facilitate its uptake, the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN), a state entity tasked with encouraging the electronic exchange of health information, has added the solution – designed by HT Systems – to its Health Information Technology (HIT) Cyber Security Program.

It means that healthcare providers in Michigan can receive the lowest price available for PatientSecure, and it sets the stage for integration with the statewide health provider directory and planned patient directory services initiatives, which will eventually provide electronic access to all medical records.

The announcement comes at a time when the healthcare industry has seen an increasing number of data breaches. Recent research showed that US healthcare organizations are spending too much time and resources on complying with regulations and not enough time improving patient data security, according to Kroll Advisory Solutions. Its bi-annual survey of healthcare providers showed a steady rise in data breaches over the last six years, despite increasingly stringent regulatory requirements surrounding reporting and auditing procedures and heightened levels of compliance.

“We are seeing healthcare providers nationwide prioritize compliance over security, which potentially puts patient data risk,” Brian Lapidus, senior vice president at Kroll Advisory Solutions, told Infosecurity. That danger increases with electronics records strategies, which is driving more and more biometric solutions to identity management in the sector.

MiHIN's evolving HIT Cyber Security program also consists of the ability to conduct vulnerability assessments and continuous threat monitoring for healthcare networks.

"As MiHIN continues to develop a robust HIT Cyber Security Program aligned with our mission as the State of Michigan designated entity, it is clear that solutions designed to raise everyone's confidence that individuals doing business over the network are who we think they are is increasingly essential," said Tim Pletcher, executive director of MiHIN. "As more organizations in Michigan adopt the PatientSecure solutions by HT Systems our state will see similar benefits in decreased medical and administrative errors related to identity as those major health systems in other states have already."

PatientSecure has been adopted by more than 160 hospitals and hundreds of affiliated clinics and physician practices across the country, enrolling more than 5 million patients to date.

"The PatientSecure technology provides Michigan healthcare providers with an extremely accurate way to identify patients as they move within and between healthcare systems. It is non-invasive, easy to use and universally accepted with a 99% patient adoption across the country," said Carl Bertrams, senior vice president of sales and marketing at HT Systems/PatientSecure.