The healthcare industry is grappling with how to embrace virtual care and telehealth tools to maintain patient care in a safe and modern way. Although some of the public health emergency-loosened standards may retighten after the pandemic fully subsides, it is safe to say that telehealth and virtual care tools utilization will remain a significant proportion of the care delivered moving forward.
The protection of sensitive information from bad actors has become an increasingly larger problem for healthcare organizations. These breaches can cost healthcare organizations millions of dollars in fines, damage their reputation, and destroy healthcare consumer trust. Already, healthcare organizations have contended with increased data breaches and an increased average cost per breach.
With the increase of consumer-facing digital health tools including telehealth services, the industry is certain to experience increased attempts at breaching valuable protected health data this year and in the future.
‘Know Your Customer is a critical part of today’s financial regulatory environment to verify the identity of its consumers to prevent banks from being used by criminal elements for money laundering activities. This usually incorporates policies and procedures to cover four elements:
KYP (know your patient) is not well known in the healthcare industry, yet, given that until recently, less than 1% of care was performed virtually. However, moving forward virtual visits could potentially account for $250B or about 20% of what Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurers spend on outpatient, office, and home health visits according to a new report.
There are several use cases across the various channels when healthcare consumers engage with their healthcare providers, health plans, and other healthcare organizations. These channels are ripe for modernized technology and automation to increase operational efficiencies, risk reduction, and improve the consumer experience.
Patient and member engagement is critical in the age of value-based care. To engage at scale, healthcare organizations must leverage digital tools. Despite the importance of engaging healthcare consumers with these tools, healthcare organizations often make initiating a digital account such as a portal or electronic healthcare cumbersome for even the savviest of consumers. Whether it’s activation codes or requiring a dozen fields of highly personal information to be entered, the industry is still a laggard in adopting tools that streamline the experience for consumers. Today, healthcare consumers can simply use their phone numbers to pre-fill digital forms with verified demographic information from authoritative sources that both ID proof and improve the digital experience.
Usernames and passwords are still the primary ways digital accounts are “protected." However, forgotten usernames and passwords also act as a barrier to adoption, especially when accounts are accessed infrequently. Today there are better ways. Multi-factor authentication is common today. However, within healthcare, it’s still relatively unused when it comes to ongoing digital services such as returning portal users or when a higher-risk interaction, such as a telehealth visit, is initiated. A patient’s bank most likely authenticates them every time they log on to their banking app. Healthcare organizations need to begin treating patient information with the same care that the financial services industry protects their customers’ money.
Verbal communication remains a critical modality of communication in healthcare. As such, call centers continue to proliferate throughout the industry. First, there’s outbound communication whereby the healthcare organization performs outreach to engage with and manage the care of the patient or member. With a good ‘Know Your Patient’ process in place, healthcare organizations should have up-to-date contact information on file for them. However, this is usually not the case. Phone contact information for healthcare consumers is notoriously unreliable. The result is increased staff time trying to make contact and ultimately lower engagement rates which cost the system money and diminish health outcomes. Knowing the phone numbers associated with healthcare consumers creates frictionless, passive authentication for inbound callers. By implementing services that look at the possession of the device the consumer is calling from, the reputation of that phone number, and the ownership of the phone number itself, it’s possible to improve the consumer and agent experience and create a much more secure interaction.
The healthcare industry is dynamic and mission-driven. There are innovative and groundbreaking medical breakthroughs that occur every day. However, the system still has a long way to go in its transformation. Leveraging technology to scale resources to adequately care for and engage the consumer is a requirement. It’s now time to rapidly optimize the digital tools that have been thrust to the forefront of healthcare. Healthcare organizations must prioritize secure consumer access to protected health information at all times, and make it easier for consumers to engage with their healthcare organizations. And they must quickly learn how to meet healthcare consumers' expectations as we all progress with our “new normal."
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