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Mastercard, b.well launch tech to enable patient ID verification

b.well Connected Health, which consolidates an individual’s data on its platform across providers, pharmacies, insurers and devices, announced a partnership with Mastercard Thursday to assist with patient identity verification when accessing services.

 Mastercard’s ID Verification service is aimed at allowing healthcare organizations to more easily authenticate patients’ identification using their mobile phones.  

b.well leaders note that the technology could come in handy in the near future with so-called vaccine passports.  

“Embedding Mastercard’s identity solution into b.well greatly increases assurances that the person behind the mobile device is in fact the person aggregating the medical records, insurance and other healthcare data,” Philips Johnson, chief strategy and innovation officer at b.well, told Healthcare IT News.

“As an example, individuals who have been identity-proofed through b.well’s platform will unlock additional sources of data, where b.well can collect COVID-19 vaccination records in order to provide a vaccination passport consumers can use for travel, events or other activities that require a vaccine passport to participate,” Johnson explained.  

WHY IT MATTERS  

The question of how to verify patient identification while maintaining privacy is a thorny one, with stakeholders and policymakers batting around a variety of solutions.   

According to b.well, its partnership with Mastercard will allow healthcare organizations to replace processes for identification involving physical documents such as a driver’s license.   

The service combines government ID document scanning, facial biometrics and mobile phone intelligence for automated user verification.   

“Consumers want to use their phones to connect with their doctors, get information about their insurance, and share sensitive information with trusted sources, but the process for authenticating themselves is complicated, difficult and not always secure,” Kristen Valdes, CEO and founder of b.well, said in a statement.  

The partnership, says Valdes, is structured to give users more control over their personal information and make interactions with providers and health plans more seamless.  

According to the companies, Mastercard ID Verification complies with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Identity Assurance Level 2 (IAL2), which is cited as a requirement in many healthcare use cases involving patient data sharing.  

“Enabling people to prove their identity seamlessly and securely, in both the digital and physical worlds, has a range of benefits, and it’s why we’ve placed such great emphasis on developing a global, interoperable solution via our digital identity service,” a Mastercard executive told Healthcare IT News.

THE LARGER TREND

The novel coronavirus has posed new challenges with patient ID and matching, with contact tracing and vaccine rollouts presenting clear use cases for accurate patient data.  

Emerging biometric technologies do offer an opportunity to solve some of those challenges – although, again, privacy considerations are key.

ON THE RECORD  

“Mastercard is working to deliver a globally interoperable ID, ensuring strong security and governance,” Sarah Clark, Mastercard senior vice president for digital identity, said in a statement.

“Our partnership with b.well offers consumers the ability to interact with their health plan providers and third parties while better protecting their personal identity information.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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