Monday, August 9, 2021

How can Biometric System Further Optimise the Healthcare Sector?

A new era of individualised technology has arrived. Biometric technology has recently been hailed as the way of the future in healthcare. Improved patient’s privacy, enhanced security for patients and staff, as well as a reduction in the risk of clerical mistakes and system vulnerabilities, are just a few instances of how biometric system can benefit the industry.

We have grown accustomed to unlocking our phones with our fingerprints and faces. We can even use speech recognition to unlock our cars. Biometric technology is a sort of identification and identity authentication technology that has important ramifications in the healthcare industry. 

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Here are a few aspects of the healthcare sector that biometric technology is currently unearthing opportunities for improvement.

1. Biometric System Helps Negate Healthcare Fraud

Impersonation is when someone pretends to be another person, and it can happen in universal healthcare and social health insurance programmes. According to news report dated Sep 2019, dead patients undergoing kidney dialysis, ghost patients getting cancer treatments and fake members are just some of the fraudulent schemes that led to at least P154 billion (US$2.94 billion) losses in Philippines state-health insurer. 

While no system is perfect, combination of contactless biometrics techniques such as face biometric authentication and voiceprint verification can produce a very stringent patient record verification system that achieves error rate only in the range of less-than-one-in-a-million. 

Face recognition system can be degraded by ageing effect, voiceprint verification can be rendered ineffective for unconscious patients, and fingerprint recognition can be worsened by worn-out or cut fingerprints, but it is unlikely that several unimodal systems will suffer from identical limitations. 

Individuals attempting to impersonate other patients can be declined fraudulent attempt with biometric authentication. This will also ensure that caregivers are working with the correct medical history and demographic data.

2. Biometric System Helps Prevent Unauthorised Access to Restricted Areas

Certain parts of a hospital are frequently restricted, with access provided only to authorised or privileged medical personnel via a key card. Unfortunately, if these key cards are forgotten or stolen, they can lead to serious security breaches with life-threatening repercussions. 

Biometrics are great in these instances as the step-up measures for stringent access control to these restricted places. If there is any instance of malpractice in the building, combination of CCTV and biometric access records can present tremendous help in investigation.

3. Biometric System Secures Access to Electronic Health Record by Patients

An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorised users. There have been talks about digital transformation in EHR aiming to achieve patient-oriented objectives, such as a secure access to personal EHR by patient from anywhere connected by Internet. Undoubtedly, this opens up concerns on data privacy, when access control is not securely managed. By embracing multi-factor authentication using biometric system, a patient’s identity can be stringently authenticated.  

4. Biometric System Improves Customer Experience

Online booking for medical appointment is now a norm. And patients are required to present proof of identity upon turning up for appointment. Wouldn’t it be better if, upon patient’s opt-in consent, recognised photo ID is submitted during online appointment booking, and the appointment can simply be contactless-ly confirmed using face biometric verification when patient turns up for his/her appointment. 

This will cut down the waiting time at registration counter and improve the protection of patient’s personal data privacy when there are less events taking place in the exchange of physical identification document between a party to another.

5. Biometric System Reduces Mundane Administrative Tasks

Continuation from the customer journey described above, paper registration forms will be things of the past. With this streamlined patient identification, consolidating millions of health records, diagnosis, tests, prescriptions, and treatments could be easier than ever before — with no misidentifications or patient record overlaps. This helps caregivers in quickly accessing the records they require, saving time and money, eliminating clerical errors, and considerably decreasing the mental load on care providers from mundane tasks.

Biometrics is quickly growing in prominence across many verticals and industries, with healthcare being a major sector to benefit from this technology. Identification and authentication needs, physical safety and security, as well as convenience and efficiency are all qualities that tremendously improve with the application of biometrics, and we can expect to see this trend continue to make waves around the world.

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