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November 29, 2023

How to Keep Patient Verification in Healthcare Secure and Efficient

In the dynamic landscape of modern healthcare, patient identity verification serves as a vital cornerstone, guaranteeing the integrity and security of medical information. As the industry continues to embrace digital transformation, the need to not only verify patient identity but do so in a way that is both comprehensive and efficient becomes paramount.
Let’s dig further into the intricacies of maintaining a delicate balance between security and efficiency in healthcare's patient verification protocols. Navigating the challenges of safeguarding sensitive data while streamlining access is not only essential for HIPAA compliance but also for delivering prompt and effective patient care. We can do so by exploring the strategies and technologies that contribute to a seamless and secure patient verification experience in the ever-evolving realm of healthcare.

Understanding Patient Verification

Patient verification in healthcare refers to the process of confirming the identity of individuals seeking medical services. This crucial step involves validating the identity of patients to ensure that the right person receives the right care and that their health information is accurate and secure. It is particularly important in the realm of telehealth.

Accurate patient verification is essential for delivering effective and personalized medical treatment, maintaining regulatory compliance, and safeguarding sensitive health information. The primary purpose of patient verification in healthcare is to enhance the overall safety and quality of healthcare by minimizing the risk of errors, protecting patient confidentiality, and preventing fraud. It involves confirming key details such as patient name, date of birth, and other identifiers to establish a reliable link between the patient and their health records. One reliable way to handle it is through visual identity verification.
What Is Visual Identity Verification?
Visual identity verification is a unique process that uses artificial intelligence, images, and sometimes even videos to confirm a person's identity. This involves using advanced technologies to assess facial features, compare images, and validate documents — passports or driver's licenses. The goal of patient verification in healthcare is to ensure that the person presenting themselves matches the official reference image issued by the government, providing a reliable way to confirm their identity.

This multifaceted process encompasses various techniques, including:
  • Face recognition
  • Facial matching
  • Document verification
The overarching objective of visual identity verification is to meticulously compare an individual's captured image with a government-issued reference image, such as a passport, driver's license, or identification card.

By employing advanced algorithms and biometric technologies, this innovative approach ensures a comprehensive and accurate confirmation of an individual's identity, promoting heightened security measures across various sectors. This not only serves as a robust deterrent against fraudulent activities  — like gaining access to a prescription drug they wouldn’t actually qualify for  — but also establishes a reliable means of validating personal identity in a digital era where security and privacy are paramount concerns.
The Challenges of Patient Verification 
There are several common issues associated with patient verification. 
Challenge #1 Data Accuracy and Consistency
Inaccurate or inconsistent patient information can lead to errors in identification. This may result in incorrect treatments, compromised patient safety, and challenges in maintaining accurate medical records.

AI provides more accurate and consistent results by learning and making predictions based on large amounts of data, thereby reducing the risk of human error. This consistency and accuracy are crucial in digital identity verification, where the slightest error can have significant repercussions.
Challenge #2 Identity Theft and Fraud
Increasing cases of identity theft and fraud pose a significant threat to patient verification in healthcare. This concern is highlighted by the 2022 data, where 707 healthcare data breaches affected nearly 52 million patients, as reported by the HIPAA Journal based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. These breaches not only expose patient data but also mandate healthcare organizations to notify individuals under federal law. 
The rising incidence of such breaches accentuates the need for robust security measures in patient verification processes. AI's advanced pattern recognition surpasses the capabilities of manual workflows in detecting specific types of risk and fraud. It analyzes vast datasets to identify emerging fraud trends and bad actor attempts, thereby ensuring proactive protection against increasingly sophisticated digital fraud. Its power in detecting and preventing fraudulent activities marks a significant shift towards a more secure digital healthcare environment.
Challenge #3 Manual Processes
Reliance on manual verification processes is both time-consuming and error-prone. Slower verification procedures can impede the efficiency of healthcare services, leading to delays in patient care and increased administrative burden. There is hard proof to back this up. A report by HIMSS Market Insights highlighted that organizations spend over 109.6 hours weekly and more than $1 million annually resolving patient identity issues, pointing to the urgent need for more efficient solutions in the healthcare sector. 
The integration of AI in healthcare operations allows organizations to streamline identity verification, leading to a substantial reduction in the time dedicated to resolving patient identity concerns. AI offers unparalleled processing and verification speeds when compared to the conventional manual review of documents, thereby saving valuable time and resources. This accelerated pace is essential in today’s fast-paced digital world, where instant verification can enhance user experience and security.
Challenge #4 Patient Privacy
A key concern for healthcare providers is balancing the need for verification with patient privacy. Patients may be hesitant to share sensitive information if they fear a breach of privacy, which can complicate the verification process. Utilizing AI enhances security and user experience through its ability to quickly adapt and respond to emerging threats and discrepancies. 
Types of Visual Identity Verification for Patients 
There are several types of visual identity verification methods a healthcare organization can use, including:
Face Recognition
This approach entails capturing an image of an individual's face and juxtaposing it with the photograph on their officially issued government ID or passport. The AI technology assesses the congruence of the images to validate and confirm the person's identity.

Liveness Detection
This method involves checking if the person being verified is a live human being, not a digital image or video recording. This is known as “liveness detection” and can help prevent fraud by ensuring that the person being verified is physically present during the verification process.

Document Verification
This technique entails authenticating government-issued IDs or passports by scrutinizing them for signs of tampering, forgeries, or potential fraudulent activities. The process involves comparing the image on the ID with a database of legitimate IDs or inspecting for security features like watermarks, holograms, and UV markings.
Signature Verification
This method involves comparing the signature of a person to a sample of their signature on file. This can be used to verify the identity of a person signing a document or to verify their identity in a remote work setting.

Selfie Verification
This approach requires the real-time capture of an individual's facial image. The picture of their face is then juxtaposed with the photograph on their government-issued ID or passport. This method serves purposes such as remote authentication and the verification of customer identities during online transactions.

Voice Recognition
This method involves analyzing the unique features of a person’s voice to confirm their identity. This can be used in conjunction with other forms of visual identity verification or as a standalone method for remote authentication.

Efficiency Strategies in Patient Verification

Addressing the challenges of patient verification in healthcare requires a holistic approach involving technology upgrades and standardized processes. This is how you can ensure a secure and efficient patient verification system:
Streamline the Registration Processes
Utilizing digital forms and electronic signatures goes a long way towards reducing paperwork and hours needed for manual data entry. When you use AI to verify your patients’ identities, the registration process will follow these steps:
Step #1 Your Customer Receives a Link
This invitation, containing a link to start the process, can be delivered via email, SMS, or directly within the mobile app.

Step #2 ID Document Verification
Next, the customer is guided to take a photo of the front of their ID. This could be any valid government-issued identification document, like a driver's license, passport, or national ID card.

Step #3 Submitting Critical Information
The AI-powered technology recognizes documents with critical information on the reverse side of the ID and requires the user to capture a second image.

Step #4 Biometric Authentication
The patient then captures a selfie image. This image not only serves for visual confirmation but also allows the AI-powered technology to collect and analyze biometric data. The technology conducts a liveness check and utilizes advanced facial recognition algorithms to compare the user’s selfie with the photo on their ID, ensuring an accurate match.

Step #5 Decision and Onboarding
Finally, the AI-powered technology makes a decision regarding the user's identity verification. If the confidence level is high and all checks pass, it registers a successful identity verified.
Utilize Real-time Verification Tools 
AI offers nearly instantaneous identity verification. The process steps listed above occur in seconds. AI-powered technology is able to quickly cross-reference an individual's provided information with multiple databases and trusted sources, like government databases, watchlists, and other identity verification services. It can verify the validity of the identity document and match it to a submitted selfie in a fraction of the time it would take to handle manually. This speed is essential in today’s fast-paced digital world, where instant verification can enhance user experience and security.

Learn More About Improving Your Healthcare Onboarding 

Maintaining secure and efficient patient verification in a healthcare setting is made simple by utilizing today’s top AI technology. What used to take a team of people in the office hours upon hours can now be done digitally in seconds. As important as speed this, healthcare providers can and should prioritize patient data security while optimizing operational efficiency. Thankfully, AI doesn’t just maintain your current efforts to adhere to HIPAA regulations, it actually improves upon them. This technology is more secure and less error-prone than similar manual processes.

With an AI-powered digital identity verification solution, healthcare facilities are able to provide faster care and greater access to medicine, while at the same time minimizing fraud and prescription abuse. When you’re ready to learn more, we encourage you to download our free guide How Vouched Can Automate Patient Verification for Your Telehealth Services.
Patient Verification
Tag(s): Blog , Articles , Vouched

Sharon Shi

Sharon Shi, the Product Marketing Lead at Vouched, leverages her rich experiences at Twitter and ad agencies to thrive in the dynamic field of identity verification marketing. Playing a key role, she collaboratively shapes Vouched's market positioning and growth.

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