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emPower eLearning: HIPAA Compliance- Selecting the Right Biometric Technology

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HIPAA Compliance- Selecting the Right Biometric Technology

The prime agenda of the HIPAA is to protect the privacy of the patient health information and simplify health insurance transactions between different service providers and patients. To accomplish this, it lays special emphasis on conversion of medical records of patient from paper to electronic format. The aim is to digitize the patient health information so that it can be easily managed by different health entities.
Any covered healthcare entity, which fails to protect the patient health data as per HIPAA compliance norms will invite strict penalties and criminal convictions. As the health transactions are done on the internet, it is mandatory for health service entities to provide a very secure access system so that genuine users can safely transact while the hostile intruders are kept at bay.
In Biometrics technology unique physical and behavioral characteristics like fingerprints, Iris  Retina, and signature, keystroke pattern, voice print, respectively are embedded in system to create a secure and unique identification for each and every user.
For a health service provider it is of paramount importance to select the right biometric system, which is easy to implement and use.Below are some important features, which such access system should have:
  • It should be easily deployable. The devices should be cost effective and sport user friendly features so that users can easily access the services.
  • The system should allow the service provider to quickly gather the user data and compare it to an accepted benchmark.
  • Provision for a proper training backup on installation, integration and optimization of such devices.
  • High degree of accuracy. The false-acceptance rate (FAR) and false–rejection rate (FJR) used in  the biometric measurement standards should balance each other so that the crossover error rate  (CER) is less. A lower CER points to higher accuracy in the system.
  • Customized to the environment. In patient admission, nursing, billing and administration fingerprint  scan will work well but will fail in the clinics and labs where latex hand gloves are used. 
  • The system should support interoperability so that the data from the different biometric devices can be exchanged and compared with each other. This also provides a greater security assurance by integrating two or more different type of devices to create a strong and tamperproof access system.
A right biometric system provides the desired level of security without creating any operational hassles to both users, patients and health service providers. This very well serves the objectives of the HIPAA compliance norms, which are, security and simplification of patient health transaction.

The right biometric technology provides increased security at reduced costs.

Jason Gaya

Read more on HIPAA compliance at, www.empowerbpo.com

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