Thursday, March 3, 2011

Smart Card Technology Supporting Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records

Last week at HIMSS11, I saw several companies exhibiting smart card technology for use in the health care industry. The Smart Card Alliance released a press release last week (see below) outlining a recent white paper that describes how smart cards may play a role in the "meaningful use" of electronic health records:

Smart Cards Aid in Achieving ‘Meaningful Use’ of Electronic Health Records According to New Smart Card Alliance White Paper

Princeton Junction, N.J., February 22, 2011 – “Meaningful use” of electronic health records has become a top priority in the U.S. healthcare system; healthcare providers that achieve it will qualify to receive federal incentives. What are the criteria for meaningful use and how can it be attained? The Smart Card Alliance answers these questions and outlines the role of smart card technology in a new white paper released today, “Getting to Meaningful Use and Beyond: How Smart Card Technology Can Support Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records.”

The white paper describes how smart card technology and smart card-based systems can aid in meeting the requirements set forth for meaningful use of electronic health records in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, while addressing many of the security and privacy challenges that come with electronic health records and health data exchange. It is available for free download at:

“The U.S. healthcare industry’s transition from a paper to a digital infrastructure is a huge undertaking with goals that seem to be in opposition to each other – keeping patient data heavily protected, yet readily available to healthcare providers, facilities and patients. This white paper shows how smart cards can help provide the combination of functionality and security that is essential to meaningful use of electronic health records,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.

Some of the ways smart cards can aid meaningful use, as detailed in the white paper, include:

· Smart cards augment the security of electronic medical records (EMRs)/electronic health records (EHRs) by providing strong authentication which corresponds to at least Level 3 assurance defined in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) M-04-04 memorandum on e-authentication guidance.
· Smart cards can carry digital certificates which provide the highest level of trust in identity management for the exchange of data across networks.
· Smart cards are used in federal standards for identity verification, data access and security (e.g., the FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standard for Federal employee and contractor identification cards).
· Commercially available smart card software can improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care delivery while improving care coordination and data access.
· Smart card technology can help institutions manage a qualified EHR by integrating information from other external sources.
· Smart card technology honors the goals of certification criteria by: promoting interoperability, promoting technical innovation which embraces adopted standards, keeping implementation costs low, considering best practices, and providing a modular solution.

“We found the white paper informative and influential in supporting our patient identity smart card initiative," said Jebashini Jesurasa, vice president-chief information officer, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. "It outlines areas supporting our patient identity solution within meaningful use and helps with our expansion to local physicians and clinics throughout our EMR region, 'one identity equals one record.'"

Participants involved in the development of this white paper included: CSC; Gary Christoph; Gemalto; Giesecke & Devrient;IBM; IDmachines; LifeMed ID, Inc; MasterCard Worldwide; Mount Sinai Medical Center; Oberthur Technologies; OTI America; SCM Microsystems; XTec, Inc.

Healthcare providers can see demonstrations of smart cards used for healthcare applications at HIMSS 11 Annual Conference & Exhibition, February 20-24, 2011, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Smart Card Alliance members exhibiting at HIMSS include: CSC (booth 4571); Gemalto (booth 3017); LifeMed ID, Inc. (booth 3017); Oberthur Technologies (booth 3915).

About the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council

The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council brings together payers, providers, and technologists to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. healthcare organizations. The Healthcare Council provides a forum where all stakeholders can collaborate to educate the market on how smart cards can be used and to work on issues inhibiting the industry. Healthcare Council participation is open to any Smart Card Alliance member who wishes to contribute to the Council projects.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit

HIMSS11 coverage is sponsored by HP and Practice Fusion. HP’s extensive portfolio of products, solutions, services and relationships can help your healthcare organization achieve quality business practices and provide quality patient care. Practice Fusion's free EHR is the fastest growing Electronic Health Records (EHR) system in the US.

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