Meanwhile, today's Medicare card is a piece of paper with no intelligence. Dare I say it, it's downright stupid. That's because the Medicare member's Social Security number is printed right on the card.
Yes, that means everyone who comes in contact with that card, from clerks on their first day on the job to EMTs making a midnight run, has access to that Social Security number.
If CMS could be sued for HIPAA violations, it would be.
But since it can't, I am left wondering why Medicare is so far behind the rest of society, and facing its own share of responsibility for the fraud and inefficiency so often ascribed to it. The truth is that behind tales of the same old government inefficiency and inertia is a tremendous debate about the role that digital identity plays in our modern world.
Summed up, the very technology that could solve our identity and fraud problems could open up tremendous privacy concerns, due to the very powerful effect that digitizing all our personal details has on the ability to aggregate and, unfortunately, abuse that information.
5 Data Problems
1. Consumers have no easy way to read the information stored on the smart cards they carry. So they can't verify the accuracy of that information without a lot more help.
2. Smart cards may help verify a patient's identity at the clinic, but they provide no benefit for the consumer at home trying to log into a patient portal or other online health services, again because there are no home readers or standards for same.