New system protects medical identity

Jim FreemanIn The Open

October 19, 2012

Dear Editor,

It is with great pride that I write this letter to commend CrossChx and Holzer Health System on their implementation of biometrics registration throughout our health care system.

At each outpatient registration desk in Holzer, an individual will be asked if they would like to register their fingerprint with their medical record. In doing so, your fingerprint is being tied to your electronic health record, enhancing the security of your identity. Remarkably, since late July, Holzer Medical System and CrossChx have enrolled over 20,000 consumers in this innovative consumer protective system. As 1.85 million Americans fall prey to Medical Identity Theft (MIT) each year, this biometric program is much needed, and is proving to be an unquestionable value proposition for protecting consumers accessing medical services at Holzer.

The average personal cost to repair or restore a stolen identity is over $22,346.00. This form of identity theft is the quickest form to steal. The settlement cost for an instance of Medical Identity Theft by a medical facility can reach into the millions of dollars to resolve. Adding a biometric fingerprint to our medical record takes only a moment, and lessens the threat of medical identity fraud by an overwhelming rate. Medical Identity Theft has cost our national health care system $43.1 billion annually. Precious funds that could be better utilized in serving consumer health care needs.

The Joint Commission on Patient Safety, which has repeatedly accredited Holzer Health System, has labeled patient identity as its #1 goal since 2003. Through CrossChx and biometrics registration and verification, Holzer continues to keep the patients trust at the forefront of their operations and programming.

Again, I want to commend CrossChx and Holzer Health System for identifying this costly and growing problem — more importantly for taking our health care to the next level, through enhanced technology and identification.


Steve Chapman, CPA