Verizon says its health care identity platform will now work on Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry as well as support access to health records.
Verizon has announced
enhancements to its Universal
Identity Services-Healthcare platform to allow for easy but secure access
to electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges (HIEs) on
Launched in November 2010,
UIS is a managed service from Verizon's Terremark IT services subsidiary. UIS
is a software as a service (SaaS) utility that allows health care professionals
to access documents using medical identity credentials.
"What the managed
service does at the highest level is ID proofing, proving that you are who you
say you are," Tracy Hulver, director of products and marketing for
Verizon's Identity Solutions group, told eWEEK.
Doctors can use Verizon's
security credentials to access e-prescribing applications and authenticate
their identity using Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices.
Smartphones can act as the
primary means of authentication, according to Tracy Hulver, director of
products and marketing for Verizon's Identity Solutions group.
"Most people already
have a smartphone, so it's not like you have to carry a separate hardware token
around," Hulver said. "And you're using a device you're already
familiar with, and it cuts down on the cost."
The service supports
multiple form factors, including one-time password reminders via email or
interactive voice response. Other form factors include user name/password and
hardware and software tokens.
UIS will block
authentication if hostile activity is detected from a certain IP address,
Hulver said. If a doctor logs on from two different sides of the world within
an hour, the service can detect the abnormal sign-on pattern.
Other new features in UIS
include digital signatures for treatment plans, electronic laboratory reports
and discharge orders.
In addition, Verizon has
added an ID Message Center to allow physician practices to sign documents
digitally and log in securely to EHRs and HIEs using a mobile application or
Web portal. Through Message Center, doctors can see which user actions are
pending, accepted, rejected or expired.
UIS will also now support
regulation codes from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, Verizon reports. The FDA's CFR-21 Part 11
guideline mandates how digital signatures can be used with the submission of
The news follows Verizon's November
2010 announcement that it will grant medical identity credentials to 2.3
million U.S. physicians, medical assistants and nurse practitioners for free to
share and access electronic health records using the company's Medical
In June, Verizon enhanced
its security programs for federal
data privacy requirements. An online dashboard called Verizon Security
Management Program-Healthcare (SMP-H) allows health care organizations to
evaluate and strengthen security based on the Health Information Trust Alliance
(HITRUST) Common Security Framework (CSF), which encompasses data protection
guidelines widely used in health care.
systems can save costs for a health care practice, compared with housing
authentication hardware, according to Hulver. Health care practices can also
reduce the costs of identity theft by using the service, according to Verizon.
The service supports up to
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Level 4 authentication. The
Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires authentication up to NIST Level 3 for e-prescribing of
controlled substances or accessing EHRs.
By making it easier to sign
in securely, Verizon aims to allow doctors to spend more time with patients,
the company reports.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.