Smart cards offers security features that a traditional patient ID, health insurance card or prescription card do not. The security features inherent in smart card technology can reduce or eliminate fraud, including medical identity theft. Smart cards offer two-factor authentication—something you have (your card) and something you know (your PIN to access the card). The microprocessor chip incorporated into the card makes it a “smart” card enabling the secure storage of your personal health information. Your information can be stored directly on the chip or it can be used to efficiently point to your information on your health insurance company’s computer network.
Conversely, traditional prescription cards in North America rarely include anything other than one’s name and the ID number associated with your health insurance provider. Many insurance companies are deploying unsecure patient ID cards that follow the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) Health Identification Card Implementation Guide. WEDI promotes adding machine-readable technology to traditional prescription cards using magnetic stripe and/or bar code. Unfortunately, for you as a consumer, both magnetic stripes and bar codes do not provide the level of security to properly protect your privacy and your medical information.
Although smart cards are also machine readable technology and provide strong security for storing your health information, there is no mention of smart cards within WEDI.