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

y leaders in health care, technology companies, government, consumer groups, and others. It is the latest addition to the Connecting for Health Common Framework -- a set of policy and technical resources for private and secure electronic health information exchange.

The report recommends that in-person proofing -- checking government-issued identification documents in a face-to-face setting -- continue to be one of the commonly used approaches, especially for organizations that lack an established relationship with the consumer. But it also encourages greater use of "knowledge-based authentication" -- a set of methods that confirm a person's identity through an electronic dialogue about facts that only the proper user should know. The group also recommended new efforts at "bootstrapping," by allowing health care organizations to make use of confirmed identities managed by other reliable parties, such as financial institutions.

"People should not have to put their privacy at risk in order to participate in innovations that promise to improve health care, access to care, and consumer control over their own information. No solution is fool-proof, but we are calling on the government to take a more vigorous leadership role in measuring the accuracy of identity-proofing methods, so that we can be more secure that people are who they say they are when accessing and sharing their health information," said Janlori Goldman, director of the Health Privacy Project, and research faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

"We conclude that the authentication challenge is manageable today," said David Lansky, Ph.D., senior director of the Markle Foundation Health Program. "And we are encouraged that new technologies and even policy innovations will remove today's barriers that prevent organizations from sharing electronic information with consumers."

"We need to improve what we already know about current methods," sa
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SOURCE The Markle Foundation
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