Identity Theft Articles

Oklahoma Blood Institute to Adopt Fingerprint ID for Donors to Reduce Risk of Identity Theft

Blood donor facility will implement biometric technology to reduce risk of medical identity theft

The Oklahoma Blood Institute, the 12th largest non-profit regional blood center in the U.S., has announced it will adopt the BIO-Key Breakthrough TruDonor Fingerprint Donor Identification technology to protect consumer privacy. BIO-Key International is one of the leading fingerprint-based biometric identification companies used by the healthcare industry.

The new technology is expected to provide more convenience to donors by automating their check-in procedure. The new system will also increase a donor's privacy by eliminating the need to present a large amount of personal information, such as a Social Security card and driver's license. Once an individual's information is already stored in the database system, the donor will simply have to check in using their fingerprints, cutting down on time and the possibility of human errors or tampering.

"Using the BIO-key ID solution, we are able to protect our donor's privacy while reducing the chance of duplicate donor IDs and aliases in our system," Oklahoma Blood Institute president and chief executive John Armitage said.

The facility provides blood for more than 150 medical centers in both Oklahoma and Texas.

The prevalence of fraud amid the initiative to transfer patient records to an electronic database system has increased the possibility that the healthcare industry may be relying more on biometric solutions to protect consumer's privacy, according to Healthcare Technology Online. Currently, the most widely-used types of technology are finger, thumb and palm print readings, the website reports.

However, there may be some drawbacks to using fingerprint technology because they are not always foolproof. Because finger and thumb prints are left behind on nearly everything an individual touches, advanced criminals can copy the patterns. Recent tests have shown that fingerprints left on gummy bears and copied by participants are the easiest way to fool a fingerprint scanner, reports the website.

Additionally, skin conditions and general wear of the skin result in nearly 5 to 10 percent of individuals having unreadable prints, the website affirms.

Medical identity theft is the fastest-growing form of identity theft. The storage and transfer of patient records to an electronic database has many health administrators anxious that the risk of a data breach may be heightened. The Blue Cross Blue Shield data breach of 2009 resulting from the theft of 57 hard drives has jeopardized the personal information of nearly 1 million patients.