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Health and Technology Leaders Tackle Challenge of Managing Consumers' Identities in Web-Based Personal Health Tools
Date:1/24/2008

Report is newest addition to the Connecting for Health Common Framework

Experts encourage knowledge-based authentication and call on National Institute of Standards and Technology to study current identity-proofing practices

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The critical challenge of validating each person's identity online can be addressed through a mix of established and emerging techniques to help stimulate the growth of new electronic health services and personal health records, according to a new report released today by Connecting for Health, a public-private collaborative group operated by the Markle Foundation.

"Your health information is likely scattered across several providers and organizations. To access your information in an electronic environment, all those organizations must be satisfied that you really are who you say you are," said Clay Shirky, chair of the Connecting for Health Work Group on Consumer Authentication Policies for Networked Health Information. "We found that there are several sound techniques for confirming users' identities that can be generally adopted in health care to make it easier for consumers to connect to all of their data reliably."

To make rapid progress toward enabling consumers to access their personal health information accurately and securely, the group recommends widespread adoption of several common practices for managing the identities of online consumers. Reliable means of verifying and validating consumers' identities would significantly improve the ability of consumers to access and consolidate all of their electronic health information -- such as test results, medication lists, treatment histories and other critical health information. The paper also recommends a federal commitment to research on the reliability of different forms of in-person and online identity management methods.

The report contains the recommendations of 38 health and technolog
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SOURCE The Markle Foundation
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