Using Trusted Identity to Streamline Medical Office Visits

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Do you get aggravated each time you go to a doctor’s office and are handed a clipboard with a form to verify that your personal information is current?  Then, when returning the completed form, the assistant requests your health insurance card to photo copy it. You must now dig through your wallet to find a card that you, hopefully, rarely use. The whole process can be frustrating and time consuming. What if your identification and healthcare card were on your mobile phone? The assistant could securely verify your health insurance and personal information without wasted time and paper.

IBM Mobile Identity (MI) securely stores your identity instruments on your digital device. It enables self-sovereign identity – you retain control of and access to your private, personal information. A MI verifier app, operated by the doctor’s administrative staff, can communicate with an MI owner app on your phone to securely verify the information in your identity documents – all without requiring a network connection. Of course, to make everything even safer, the verifier can only see the data you give permission to view.

Another advantage of a digital document is that it can store more information in a more readable format.  Many health insurance cards use a very small font to fit all the necessary information on a 2”x 3” card.  With MI you can examine each identity instrument individually. Now you can be sure if the zip code contains a 6 or an 8 or a 0 without squinting. Plus, MI enabled healthcare cards follow the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) Health Identification Card Implementation Guide.

back of a medical id card

The back of a typical healthcare card with very small print.

healthcare card viewed in MI app

A view of a healthcare card in MI with the address element highlighted.

Let’s consider an example scenario. Doctors participating in the Asher Health System use IBM Mobile Identity. Patients have an MI owner app to store their medical insurance information and other identities such as a driver’s license, student ID or store loyalty cards. The doctors’ offices have a MI verifier app. When Holly goes into the office for her yearly physical, John at the check-in desk requests verification of her ID and healthcare information. John starts the verification process on the MI verifier app.  John requests Holly’s health insurance information as well as verification of her current address, date of birth, and photo.  The non-medical information will come from Holly’s mobile driver’s license which is also stored in her MI owner app.  Holly responds to the verification request with the owner MI app on her phone and reviews the exact information that John is requesting.

Holly can review the requested information before sending the response.

Holly can reject any individual piece of information John is requesting if she feels it is not relevant to the visit.  Holly’s MI owner app exchanges the information with the verifier app. John reviews the information and makes any necessary changes in the office system.  The transaction is complete without the need for any paper forms or unnecessary photocopying.  None of Holly’s data is stored on John’s phone – it is only used for the duration of the transaction.

That’s one less card to carry in your wallet and one less paper form to complete. Welcome to the IBM Mobile Identity ecosystem.

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Becky Gibson
Becky is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Emerging Technologies Group at IBM. Her career has spanned many products and programming languages and she has contributed to both commercial and open source projects. Becky is widely recognized for her efforts in the area of Web Accessibility - making the Web usable by people of all abilities. She has now turned her attention and efforts to the area of digital identity and mobile identity solutions.
Becky Gibson

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