Verizon to Issue Identity Credentials to Nearly all U.S. Health Care Professionals

In a move designed to advance electronic health data sharing, Verizon will begin issuing in January medical identity credentials to 2.3 million U.S. physicians, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners - at no charge.

This first-of-its kind step will enable U.S. health care professionals to meet federal requirements contained in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act that call for the use of strong identity credentials when accessing and sharing patient information electronically beginning in mid-2011. 

With these strong identity credentials, U.S. health care professionals will be able to receive digital health information via the Verizon Medical Data Exchange, using a secure, private inbox accessed from a new Web-based physician portal, the Healthcare Provider Portal.  These multi-factored credentials will be designed to meet the Level 3 authentication requirements created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency that works with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. 

In addition, these credentials will be able to be used to universally access health IT applications and platforms, such as electronic medical records, e-prescribing services and health information exchanges, including the Verizon Health Information Exchange, which serves as a central repository for patient information and upon request pulls a patient's history from disparate sources.

Currently, there is no universal means of issuing multi-factored credentials to U.S. health care professionals for use in accessing any health care system, database or application.  Verizon is filling this void by drawing upon its heritage of issuing and managing tens of millions of identity credentials for hundreds of businesses and governments around the globe.

 "For years, the U.S. has been talking about the concept of digitally sharing health information and we are now on the cusp of making this a reality," said Peter Tippett, vice president - innovation and technology, Verizon Business.  "Verizon is lowering the barriers to compliance and adoption by providing health care professionals with a universal means to access virtually any system, anytime, anywhere.  We believe this is a significant step forward for health IT."

Joseph Ternullo, associate director - Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners Healthcare in Boston that is leveraging information technology to create a new model of health care delivery that better integrates quality care into the day-to-day lives of patients, said: "Verizon's issuance of medical identity credentials to U.S. health care professionals promises to help solve many of the information technology challenges faced by providers and facilitate the secure exchange of health information among credentialed health care professionals.  Verizon is creating a clear path toward meeting federal requirements for the use of strong identity credentials."

A Powerful Platform for Patient Information Sharing

The Verizon Medical Data Exchange - a fully interoperable and open standards-based platform - enables physicians nationwide to overcome traditional barriers to e-health adoption, including compliance, usability and the investment required to change existing IT systems or purchase new equipment or software.  The platform enables a wide range of health care providers - from large health systems to rural hospitals to small physician practices - to securely and privately receive and send digital records, such as dictated physician notes, X-rays, medical images and lab results, by linking disparate IT systems and applications. 

The Verizon Medical Data Exchange is designed to meet meaningful-use requirements for health data sharing established under the 2009 HITECH Act. These requirements are a set of interoperability standards, implementation specifications and certification programs intended to certify electronic health record technology to enable clinicians to better coordinate care and reduce administrative costs.

Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions

Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions offers a comprehensive portfolio of managed, IT and consulting services for the health care industry that help transform patient care delivery, enhance access to care and better manage costs.

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ), is a global leader in communications and IT solutions. We combine professional expertise with one of the world's most connected IP networks to deliver award-winning communications, IT, information security and network solutions.  We securely connect today's extended enterprises of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees - enabling them to increase productivity and efficiency and help preserve the environment.  Many of the world's largest businesses and governments - including 96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business. Find out more at www.verizonbusiness.com.