The telehealth industry has evolved from a healthcare alternative to being an utmost medical requirement. The CoronaVirus pandemic has instigated a change in thinking as more and more people are becoming health conscious and medically informed. Therefore, the need for automated communication networks increased and more people were onboarded on the online medical platforms. In this scenario, it is imperative that we know about the details on how to adopt healthier practices, and how our new healthcare systems function.
Let’s take a gander at the statistics pointing exactly to this trend.
- In the 1st quarter of 2020, there was almost a 50% increase in telehealth visits.
- For people under the 18-49 age demographic, the number reached 68% in January to 73% by March.
- By 2026, the global telehealth market is forecasted to reach US$ 186.5 billion.
While the words telehealth and telemedicine are sometimes used interchangeably, telehealth encompasses a wider range of remote healthcare practices and facilities. To comprehend the relationship between telehealth and telemedicine, it is necessary to first describe telemedicine.
Telemedicine refers to the presence of medicine over the internet. On the other side, telehealth is a broad concept that encompasses all aspects and practices of medical and the healthcare system. Moreover, these are all carried out by utilizing telecommunication technologies. Telehealth activities and applications that go beyond remote clinical treatment include medical training, healthcare devices and systems that monitor and relay vital signs, and remote connectivity.
Consider the concept of Know Your Customer (KYC), which is designed to provide the banking sector with security in the form of user identification and authentication. This is done not only to ensure online security and prevent money laundering but also to ensure compliance with rules and standards. Similarly, there is an urgent need to take measures in impeding security breaches in the medical sector.
Taking e-KYC one step further, KYP is just as critical but in the medical field. For healthcare providers, verifying the patient’s ID information should be the first step in combating cybercrime, narcotics smuggling, and data breaches. As a result, they use AI-based tools to check the patient’s identity and put in place efficient protocols for providing medications, medical results, and paperwork, and so on.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is a law that businesses operating in the US telehealth sector are required to adhere to. This law, which seeks to combat medical fraud, should be applied in tandem with patient identity authentication services. By requiring identity checks for telehealth facilities, hospitals can be found responsible for failing to comply, and consumers can be held responsible for any signs of online medical fraud. Resultantly, a culture of conformity can be preserved in the industry if the use of rigorous identity authentication solutions is made mandatory. Hence, third-party service providers ensure safer patient services while boosting a market that is predicted to flourish well after the present crisis has passed.
The telehealth industry’s situation isn’t all doom and gloom. The Know Your Patient (KYP) method, thankfully, is a realistic solution for preventing telehealth crimes. In a typical setting, patients are expected to carry identification papers to have their identities checked before seeking medical attention. In the virtual space, patient identity-checking does not follow the same procedure, however, this method presents itself as even more important. This is highly relevant given the recent leak of 175 million patient records. Through streamlining the KYP mechanism and associated telehealth communications, this number can be dramatically reduced.
The KYP procedure begins during the account opening phase. The patient uploads an official identification file, such as a NIC, driver’s license, etc. as well as a selfie. The information submitted by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is automatically extracted by the patient ID authentication program. The identity authentication system correctly verifies the details and the image using machine learning algorithms, and the results are delivered in a few seconds.
After that, the patient goes ahead with the appointment or medication. During this phase, AI-based ID verification providers also check the patient’s age. It is to stop minors from getting access to the age-restricted platform by comparing their age to the minimum age standard. These age checks help the telemedicine industry reduce ID fraud, comply with regulatory requirements, and protect minors.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has established a series of rules and protocols for handling patient records, as well as the instructions for verifying your patient’s ID information. To safeguard the sensitive records used to screen patients, these instructions must be strictly followed by the healthcare institution. Here, the information flow is continually monitored to deter any violations to ensure the integrity of medical documents.
Any discrepancy can result in significant damages for both the healthcare provider and the patients. When working with Protected Health Information (PHI), the organization must take extra care to secure the patient’s private data. Otherwise, a data breach may result in significant regulatory fines for the organization.
Online healthcare providers and hospitals must check a client’s age before shipping ordered medicine. It’s because certain pharmacies sell age-restricted medications that need a rigorous age verification review; otherwise, supplying prescription drugs to children will be considered illegal in the eyes of law. So, online identity authentication systems can be used to verify a person’s age. They have all of the resources needed to verify a patient’s assertion about their age, and they do so without requiring any physical interaction.
Cyber attacks in the healthcare industry are more frequent than you would expect. Identity stealing and data misuse are only two of the many examples of ID information abuse. It is because the hospital reports and other classified documents relating to the patient’s personal information are all held digitally. Therefore, the employment of online ID verification systems has become incumbent on healthcare providers.