Health Information Management

Ponemon Institute survey reveals medical identity theft is on the rise

HIM-HIPAA Insider, September 23, 2013

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The number of identity theft victims increased 20% in the past year, according to a report on the results of the Ponemon Institute’s 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theft. The Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA), with support from ID Experts, sponsored the survey.

Survey participants included 788 individuals over the age of 18 who reported that they or a close family member were victims of identity theft. The study defined medical identity theft as having occurred “when someone uses an individual’s name and personal identity to fraudulently receive medical service, prescription drugs and goods, including attempts to commit fraudulent billing,” according to the report.

The report used data from this year’s survey to determine that an estimated 313,000 new cases of medical identity theft occurred in the past year. The number of individuals who lose trust and confidence in their healthcare providers after a medical identity theft incident increased from 51% last year to 56% this year, according to the reprot.

The majority (78%) of respondents said it is important to control their medical records, but they are not taking steps to do so, according to the report. More than half (56%) of respondents said they do not check their medical records to ensure their accuracy.

The report revealed that 30% of respondents allowed a family member to use their medical information to obtain treatment, healthcare products, or pharmaceuticals. The majority of respondents said they were the victims of theft because they shared medical information with someone (30%) or because a family member stole their medical information (28%).

This article originally appeared on HCPro’s HIPAA Update blog. Stay up to date on all things HIPAA by signing up for e-mail updates from this blog.

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