Browse Definitions :
Definition

medical identity theft

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Medical identity theft is the illegal access and use of a patient's personally identifiable information (PII) to obtain medical treatment, services or goods.

The thief's goal is to obtain key pieces of  personal information that will allow the thief to impersonate the victim. In addition to stealing the victim's date of birth, address and social security number, the thief may also steal the identification number the patient is assigned by his or her health care provider. The stolen information may be used to open credit card accounts or obtain medical services such as treatment at an emergency medical crisis location. The information may also be used to fraudulently obtain prescription drugs or expensive medical equipment that can be sold on the black market. 

Victims of medical identity theft may receive bills for medical services they did not receive, and the length of time it can take to resolve a dispute may have a negative impact on the victim's credit rating and future insurance costs. The perpetrators' actions may also add false information to the victim's electronic health record (EHR). Left unnoticed, this could provide medical personnel with incorrect or conflicting information about the patient's medical history or prescribed medications.

To mitigate the impact of medical identity theft, patients should routinely monitor their credit ratings and carefully read over bank, credit card and insurance statements to ensure that  all charges are legitimate. Suspicious activity should be reported to the appropriate agency as soon as possible. 

This was last updated in April 2016

Continue Reading About medical identity theft

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Saw this on television recently. With all the data breaches and issues with the cloud lately, why would hospitals risk it ?? The answer is storage of medical records. Years ago I was in hospital for a procedure that did not go well. Spent 4 months before I was released. My medical records for that stay filled almost 5 3 inch thick 3-ring binders. So multiply that out by the number of patients and it's staggering. HIPAA should take another looking at putting this all at risk to theft.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

SearchSecurity

  • access control

    Access control is a security technique that regulates who or what can view or use resources in a computing environment.

  • ethical hacker

    An ethical hacker, also referred to as a white hat hacker, is an information security expert who systematically attempts to ...

  • two-factor authentication (2FA)

    Two-factor authentication (2FA), sometimes referred to as two-step verification or dual factor authentication, is a security ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

SearchStorage

  • Flash Storage

    Flash storage is any type of drive, repository or system that uses flash memory to keep data for an extended period of time.

  • optical disc

    An optical disc is an electronic data storage medium that can be written to and read from using a low-powered laser beam.

  • RAID 0 (disk striping)

    RAID 0 (disk striping) is the process of dividing a body of data into blocks and spreading the data blocks across multiple ...

Close