Alternate Medical Identification Number to replace Social Security Numbers

Ania Augustin
Lauren Gerhardstein
Ryan Moriarty

Estimated project completion time: 25 months
This project will affect all residents of the United States of America

Evidence to support the problem

This project is a bold attempt to reduce the amount of identity theft that occurs in the medical care field in the United States of America. This project is the creation and implementation of an alternate number that only correlates with medical information and not the Social Security Number, which currently represents personal income tax, permission to work in the United States, and financial ability to take loans.
Removing the use of the Social Security Number (SSN) in relation to medical history would take away a large incentive for thieves to steal them. A specific medical identification number will also increase the effectiveness of medical care by ensuring the person is who they claim to be by identification card, facial picture, and medical history.

Our organization was formed to solve a major problem with health information security. The United States has used the Social Security Number as a default medical ID since it was instituted in the 1930’s as retirement information and tax information and most citizens have one already. The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has given new urgency to the need for a national health identifier. Because no unique personal identifier has been established, many providers have defaulted to the SSN as a unique identifier (AHIMA, Jun 2011).”
"As long as criminals can buy a list of names and SSNs through an Internet auction, we will continue to be plagued by the consequences (O’Carroll, Jul 2003)." This is a serious concern as theft is the major reason for loss of SSNs from medical treatment facilities.

With our new application, a new identification number used strictly for medical information will be created from a set of limited and unique identifying information, without any basis of demographic information. The user can submit any extra information to ensure identity- the minimum requirements include: where the user was born (latitude and longitude), when the user was born (year, month, day, hour, minute, second-if known), and a randomized four digit serial number in the event two children are born at the exact same time in the exact same place. Race, gender, family history, current illnesses and allergies, and any other health information would be available to input voluntarily, which would be helpful to access the medical records this number is attached to.

Potential Solutions

The Social Security Card theft business has been growing and not slowing (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, 2014). It is from this factual information that it is clear to know the idea of making the SSN harder to steal or hack has not worked. There are still millions of identities being stolen from medical facilities.

The Social Security Administration could potentially change the number format of their cards in an attempt to fix this problem. I agree changing our numbering system could make the card harder to steal, but that would cost taxpayers more money without a guarantee of success. People will still WANT to steal this card not for the medical identity, but for the financial gain from your social security information.

We propose a third solution, which would be the creation of a new identification number system that is independent from the Social Security Administration. It will need the support of the federal and state governments for enforcement of theft or fraud, but will attract the financial support of individual investors who have a desire to end theft and increase the boost in information gained with a new national health identification system. By being completely independent of the monetary enticements of a social security card, we believe this will greatly reduce the theft of medical institutions.

Research on Existing/Alternative solutions attempted by others

A number of nationally known universities have moved from the SSN to an alternate student identifier to reduce theft, a part from medical reasons. Theirs students, faculty, and the staff are encouraged to use the alternate method and abandon the SSN. This region of the Midwest including Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska have reported the cost of the switch was minimal, but the increased peace of mind for the people involved was worth it (Social Security Agency, 2014).
Currently, there are many ways you can use an exceptional number instead of the SSN for different government programs and assistance. A few examples include 9 digits from their documents like the I-94, I-179, I-197, and I-551 immigration forms. This is just a current example that alternatives to the SSN do already exist, and a new medical ID number could be used instead of the SSN (Social Security Agency, 2014).

Feasibility of Each Solution

Changing the security by passing legislation has not thwarted the identity thieves from stealing and compromising innocent people’s SSN, however. Although there have been oscillating trends, the overall instances of theft has risen over the years.

Changing the SSN to increase effective security has not really been attempted, but there are numerous ways to not need one for identification. There has not been a reported decline in identity theft, but that still does not allow regular citizens the ability to change their number from the Social Security Administration’s secret methods of determining the nine digit number.
The creation of a new super warehouse of servers and the workers needed to maintain it is possible. With the right financial backing and the right legislators making it legal, there can be one true alternative to the SSN as a medical identification number. A simple program can generate an ID from the most basic information and create an account with all of the relevant medical information stored offsite in a central protected server. This will be the best course of action for security, accountability, and the largest theft deterrent around.

Our Chosen Approach with Reasons

Our simple idea for a new ID number is made to be based on something common to all people: everyone is born somewhere, at a specific time. Our number is degrees latitude with degrees longitude to six degrees and five degrees of precision, respectively. Following the where, it is the time of birth from four digit year, two digit month, two digit day, two digit hour, two digit minute, two digit second. In the highly unlikely event these two specific numbers are the same, we have a four digit serial number to cover any duplicate births.

This new simplistic program would be maintained by government-approved background-checked workers that hold the appropriate security clearances to be trusted with sensitive information. They will be responsible for taking medical records from patients and assigning their number from their birth record, and scan and copy all documents into an account created for them. The patient or doctors can add any documentation to the server, with whoever sent it recorded. This will separate official documents like lab reports and office notes from patient submitted information like daily diet journals, insulin test readings, or medication side effects experienced which is useful to the primary care physician.

Our Timeline for Completion

Secure a location that can be protected with standard walls, entry control points, surveillance cameras and motion tracking, free from electromagnetic radiation from power uplink stations, power plants, railways, or airports.
Timeline: 2 weeks

Select proper building contractor who can build a specific building to accommodate the increased security measures to protect our sensitive servers. Construction crew must be under surveillance and properly checked for prior criminal records and not notified what they are building for.
Timeline: 2 weeks

Construction begins on server warehouse. Connect to sewage, electric, garbage collection, and water utilities. Connect to very high speed internet connections at least 10 megabits per second. Virginia and Tennessee seem to be high bandwidth states.
Timeline: 6 months

After facility is complete, setup server and utility computer modules. Install all software required, as well as train new employees on the new software and protocols.
Timeline: 4 months

Being test operations until levels of compliance are high. Then, proceed with normal operations.
Timeline: 2 months

Total Time: 1 year 1 month.

Team Workload and Roles

Ryan Moriarty:
  • Presentation construction
  • Final project outline
  • Research
Ania Augustin:
  • Application Mockups
  • Website
  • Research
  • Images
  • Recording Minutes
Lauren Gerhardsein:
  • Application Mockups
  • Images
  • Research

Meeting Minutes
Meeting Minutes for ID Generation
September 15, 2014
3:35 – 4:50 pm
LSB0006 FSU Campus

Meeting Called: Dr. Sanghee Oh
Attendees: Ania Augustin, Lauren Gerhardstein, Ryan Moriarty

New Business: Brainstorming Project Selection Group 1
Old Business: None
Discussion: Today’s topic is collaborating ideas on our upcoming project, on H.I.T related topics we should choose from. From reading the instructions we weren’t quite sure, what our main focus will be, but we narrow it down to: EHR, Unique number for medical Id’s that will replace SSN and etc. After going down the list of potential H.I.T topics, we all came to the conclusion on unique personal identifier medical ID card; that will replace government from using SSN’s in medical information. Reasons choosing a unique personal identifier medical id, many had their personal information stolen, such as the SSN. Throughout this project we conduct research about SSN and
Action Items: Group 1 will conduct research on our project
Deadline: Proposal due on wikispaces 9/24/2014

Meeting Minutes for ID Generation
October 13, 2014
3:35 – 4:50 pm
LSB 0006 FSU Campus

Meeting Called: Dr. Sanghee Oh
Attendees: Ania Augustin, Lauren Gerhardstein, Ryan Moriarty

New Business: Project Proposals Presentation Group 1

Old Business: Brainstorming project selection
Previous Meeting Minutes 9/15/2014 approve

Discussion: Group 1 agreed on our topic selection for unique medical id’s that will not be associated with the SSN and also will be presenting our project topic selection in class today.
Action Items: After receiving feedback from the instructor and fellow peers, we will conduct more research. And also will working on our application template demo (presenting 11/5/2014).
Deadline: 11/5/2014

Meeting Minutes for ID Generation
Novemeber 5, 2014
3:35 – 4:50 pm
LSB 0006 FSU Campus

Meeting Called: Dr. Sanghee Oh
Attendees: Ania Augustin, Lauren Gerhardstein, Ryan Moriarty

New Business: Project Application Template

Old Business:
Project Proposals Presentation Group 1
Previous Meeting Minutes 10/13/2014 approve

Discussion: Group 1 will present their template demos in class and also will be presented with feedback from the Instructor and peers
Deadline: 11/17/2014

Meeting Minutes for ID Generation
November 17, 2014
3:35 – 4:50 pm
LSB 0006 FSU Campus

Meeting Called: Dr. Sanghee Oh
Attendees: Ania Augustin, Lauren Gerhardstein, Ryan Moriarty

New Business: Group 1 Project meeting for upcoming final report

Old Business: Project Proposals Presentation
Previous Meeting Minutes 10/13/2014 approve

Discussion: Today group 1 will be discussing about our upcoming final report and gathering all research to present the final presentation in class on 12/3/2014.

Deadline: TBA

Meeting Minutes for ID Generation
Decemeber 3, 2014
3:35 – 4:50 pm
LSB 0006 FSU Campus

Meeting Called: Dr. Sanghee Oh
Attendees: Ania Augustin, Lauren Gerhardstein, Ryan Moriarty

New Business: ID Generation will be presenting final project today

Old Business: Group Project meeting for upcoming final report Group 1
Previous Meeting Minutes 11/17/2014 approve

Discussion: After conducting research for weeks , group 1 (Generation ID) will have their final presentation.

Deadline: 12/3/2014 ( an hour before class)

Solution Prototypes

Identifying basic requirements for our project
  • Determining basic requirements for our project (unique barcode card for patients), such as security, cost, technical support and etc.

Develop Initial Prototype:

  • Below you will see a link to our website, about barcodes and other additional information.
  • Pictures of template demo
  • Template3.pngTemplate1.png

  • Receiving feedback from instructor and also peers
Revise and Enhance prototypes
  • Using the feedback from instructor and peers to improve our templates and website. If changes are needed, then step #3 and step #4 may be needed.

Final Solution

As previously stated, our project consisted of a new unique identifying numbering system, as well as the staff required to maintain our server warehouse and the staff in government will train others to use the new system. This is the solution to the SSN theft issue, as well as a better system for medical identification.

Next Steps

This system will always need maintenance and new improvements will be made, as well as education of the general public. The future of the Medical Identification Number depends on innovation, implementation, and new leadership. With improvements will come new problems, and we will need the finances and ingenuity to adapt to unforeseen problems.

XII. Citations

AHIMA, "Limiting the Use of the Social Security Number in Healthcare", Journal of AHIMA 82, no.6 (June 2011): 52-56.

O'Carroll, Patrick, “Testimony before the Subcommittee on Social Security of the House Ways and Means”, (July 10, 2003). Accessed on the web at:

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, “Chronology of Data Breaches”, (2014). Accessed on the web at:

Kansas City Region Social Security Office, “Alternative Identifiers”, (2014).
accessed on web on 19 Nov 2014 at:

Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2014, from Templates