Mount Sinai's New Smart Card Program

New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center soon will begin a two-year effort to provide 100,000 of its patients with smart cards for identification.In an exclusive interview, Paul Brian Contino, vice president of information technology at the hospital, one of the nation's largest, explains that the cards will help Mount Sinai deal with "the growing incidence of fraud and abuse in healthcare" as well as improve the accuracy of medical records. Contino explains:

  • Why he chose smart cards over other authentication options for the voluntary program;
  • How the cards store a summary of the patient's healthcare information;
  • Why the cards will improve data integrity and accuracy and reduce medical errors by avoiding the creation of duplicate records; How the cards could pave the way for information exchange among different provider organizations;
  • Why the cards will serve as an easy way to gain patient consent to access their records, as required under the HITECH Act.
Mount Sinai launched a preliminary smart card effort in 2004 with Siemens, which later exited the business. Now, it's serving as a development partner to Extension Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., which is collaborating with German card manufacturer Giesecke & Devrient and TrustBearer Labs, a unit of VeriSign Inc.

Contino has more than 15 years of technology development and management experience. At Mount Sinai, he oversees all clinical, financial and administrative systems for the hospital and its school of medicine. A former research scientist, he served as a technical consultant to pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies.

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