The Smart Card Alliance is pushing the Department of Health and Human Services to mandate that personal health records vendors and health record bank organizations support two-factor authentication to access information.

Two-factor authentication means a computer user must supply something you know (username/password or PIN) and something you have (smart card, token, one-time password device, fingerprint, retina scan or other biometrics) to access an application.

Maintaining consumer confidence in the confidentiality of electronic personal health records is critical for the success of PHR and health record bank operators, according to the Princeton Junction, N.J.-based alliance. "Should any of these networks be compromised, the healthcare industry will suffer a tremendous setback that will undermine all of the investment and progress that has been made to date," according to an alliance statement. "Consumer confidence in these systems is essential if we are to realize the potential of electronic health records and information exchange."

--Joseph Goedert


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