Healthcare Technology Featured Article

March 07, 2011

Healthcare Technology and News: Comments to ONC Submitted By Smart Card Alliance


The Office of the National Coordinator or ONC for Health Information Technology was submitted a statement by the Smart Card Alliance. This is in response to the Health IT Policy Committee's Request for Comment - Stage 2 Definition of Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records. The response statement was submitted on February 24, 2011.

According to the response statement, Stage 2 of Meaningful Use needs to incorporate the requirement for strong, multi-factor authentication. Identities, networks and information systems will be therefore protected adequately.

The amounts of private medical information stored online will increase with the proliferation of electronic health records. Health information exchange will be also used to share sensitive information. Access to these online records will be granted to an ever growing array of individuals and organizations. A secure, private and trusted health information system can be only maintained with strong authentication with appropriate access and audit controls. A solid identity management infrastructure for healthcare is therefore required.

Personal health information will be at serious risk with the current weak username and password authentication. Information cannot be made private again after it has been disclosed. As the nation’s health IT infrastructure is still being developed, smart card technology should be used by the ONC for multi-factor authentication solutions.

Apart from thwarting hackers, smart card technology has also been proved to provide very high confidence regarding the identity of the individual claiming access. Medical identity theft will be reduced by issuing secure identity credentials based on smart card technology to patients and providers. Existing healthcare administration systems can be therefore introduced to numerous efficiencies. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace for access to electronic health records also recommends the use of smart card technology.




Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell






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