As financial pressures mount, some insurers are suspending - and sometimes killing - major IT initiatives, save privacy and security technologies. But some health care insurers are deploying these technologies to not only secure transmissions, but improve how they conduct business with their network partners, third-party administrators, providers, subscribers and even members. When the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) conducted surprise HIPPA audits during 2007 and 2008, health care organizations across the value chain realized as never before the importance of treating the mandate of delivering privacy, security and compliance as mission-critical.

Further, the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Red Flag rules have been expanded downstream to include the health care provider, making it clear that similar mandates are flowing up and down the supply chain. Under the rules, financial institutions and creditors with covered accounts must have identity theft prevention programs to identify, detect and respond to patterns, practices or specific activities that could indicate identity theft.

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