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NSTIC, Disaster Relief Security, Healthcare Smart Cards headline last week’s SCA Government Conference

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Last week was the annual Smart Card Alliance Government Conference in Washington, D.C., which always provides a great opportunity to see our peers and learn about the latest developments in smart cards and identity management within all levels of government and healthcare.

Jeremy Grant, the head of the National Strategy of Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), talked at the start of the conference last Wednesday about the progress of the proposed online identity ecosystem.  Grant expected two more rounds of pilots to be awarded in 2013, one of which would include the public sector, and that smart cards will have an important role in the process.  The following day, I had the opportunity to learn more about the NSTIC pilots that were awarded in 2012 – they all seem to be moving ahead quickly, and I look forward to hearing a lot more about their progress next year.

Another presentation I was interested to hear was from Dr. James J. James, director of the AMA Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response on their recently completed smart card pilot.  The pilot provided smart healthcare cards to citizens evacuated from their homes due to disaster.  Dr. James reported that the pilot was a success, and that those citizens that had the smart cards received care more quickly than those that did not, and were happier with their care.  Overall, he seemed extremely enthusiastic about the possibilities for smart healthcare cards in the future.

Following the theme of solutions for disaster recovery, I found the presentation from FEMA’s Charles Luddeke extremely insightful.  A major problem FEMA faces is with imposters – people that will pretend to be housing inspectors during or after disasters to gain access to homes and valuables.  To combat this, FEMA will be issuing PIV-I cards to all of their inspectors, with Luddeke hoping for a future where citizens themselves can verify these credentials via their mobile device.  I was encouraged by how much FEMA is concerned with their customers’ (the disaster victims) well-being and security.

On healthcare, Kelli Emerick, executive director of the Secure ID Coalition, presented on a topic near and dear to my heart: the proposed Medicare Common Access Card (CAC), a smart card which would replace the paper Medicare card that seniors use today.  Emerick detailed how the Medicare CAC could reduce Medicare’s fraud rates (which is up to $60 billion a year), and produce ROI of $296 billion over 10 years.  The Medicare Common Access Card Act (H.R.2925/S.1551) would create pilots to test the technology, and show its real-world value.

These are only some of many interesting takeaways from the conference.  Check back on our blog to see what other Gemalto executives had to say, including my thoughts on government identity credentialing, and new uses in this space for mobile devices.

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