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Government policy makers are looking carefully at the best ways to improve the efficiency of information systems in the healthcare industry. Much emphasis has been placed on the need for electronic health records for every American, and at ways to exchange those records at the regional, state and national levels. But this is putting the cart before the horse. Such an effort must start with the accurate identification of each person receiving healthcare services or participating in healthcare benefit programs. Next, there must be a way to uniquely and securely authenticate that person across the healthcare system, including over the Internet, in a secure and privacy sensitive way.
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