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Friday November 23 2018

Could biometrics pave the way for the future of healthcare?

Could biometrics pave the way for the future of healthcare?

Biometrics has proved a boon for many industries. The likes of the finance industry, construction sector and, of course, government have been early adopters of the technology due to its increased reliability and security. However, many are looking into the potential possibilities for biometrics within other industries. One such industry that could vastly enhance its delivery and service is the healthcare sector.

Biometric technology could enhance security for many hospitals, GP surgeries and other such facilities, as well as reduce the risk of any breaches due to human error. Similarly, it’s been said that biometrics could vastly streamline the treatment processes for many patients. As such, ievo Ltd - a leading, UK biometrics manufacturer - are sharing their thoughts on the uses of healthcare biometrics in the future.

There’s no denying that biometric readers - such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition systems - can greatly enhance the security of any building, thus protecting the employees, patients and visitors. The installation of biometrics could prove invaluable, ensuring that certain areas of the hospital - restricted due to medical equipment or sensitive information - are only available for those with user permissions. In turn, this reduces the risk of human error, as many healthcare buildings rely on key cards and PIN codes for staff to enter particular parts of the site. The biometric reader cannot be fooled and will only provide access to those who have the permissions. Fingerprints, for instance, are also extremely difficult to replicate as images of prints are not stored on readers, but more a mathematical representation of the print.

If a user did have access to a certain area and malpractice did occur, biometrics could identify the individual in the area at the time and when they ‘clocked in’ and ‘out’, thus stopping the malpractice in its tracks. We have touched on this above, but access can be restricted for certain users. Hospitals, GP surgeries and other such buildings store highly sensitive and classified information. As such biometrics can help to keep this information secure and out of the wrong hands. Alongside the security, it can also streamline administration processes. Those with access to the information could undertake a quick biometric scan to access all medical history of a patient, without having to search through a number of files and enter various PIN codes/passwords.

While the above points could be implemented today, the continued development of the biometrics industry has opened the door to many other possibilities…Biometrics could, in the future, detect any instances of patient fraud and help to minimise the risk. For instance, fingerprint and facial recognition could eradicate the possibility of an individual posing as another patient to access their care and treatments. The information stored on biometric readers is almost impossible to replicate, which could help to reduce any breaches to patient information.

Communication barriers could, potentially, be a thing of the past with biometrics. Biometrics could substantially improve the delivery of treatments, medicines and even prescriptions between healthcare workers and patients. If a patient is not able to communicate their issues or symptoms, a biometric scan could pull up their up to date medical history, granting the GP access to their records and previous ailments to help identify proper treatment. Another potential possibility for biometrics is the ability to correctly identify patients. It’s critical that healthcare workers have access to all medical history and necessary information, which is where biometrics comes into play. Rather than store all information in a number of files that all require different passwords etc., you can store the files in one place that could be accessed via a biometrics scan.

This identification process could even be used for the likes of pop-up blood donor clinics. Rather than asking the donors to carry their card, a biometric scan could identify the individual and their blood type. Again, this also increases security as their is less chance the individual will lose the card as it’s very difficult to lose your fingerprint. Ultimately, all of the above serves the purpose for improving the healthcare service and providing greater satisfaction for both healthcare personnel and patients. The ability to protect sensitive information and the building itself, along with the possibilities to reduce patient fraud, aid with communication barriers and patient identification is certain to change the industry.

"'This identification process could even be used for the likes of pop-up blood donor clinics'"

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