Many consumers have become acquainted with biometric security measures recent years. Although it was once considered the realm of science fiction, biometric technologies are now being considered by industries like banking and health care, as a way to meet the dual demands of data security and physical security. The privacy and security of health records has been an issue of increasing concern. Innovation to health record information protection is largely facilitated by use of technological biometrics advancements.
The lack of patient identity safeguards presents many issues for patients and providers. Patients are victims of medical identity theft so that their records may contain health data and claims that are not theirs, jeopardizing treatments in the future and health care financial limits. Patients may have their medical records falsified to support fraudulent claims when they have not received care. Fraudsters can use providers’ and patients’ identities to falsify claims. All of these issues lead to less safe and efficient patient care. The recent report from FBI stated that Health care fraud has cost the US $10 billion each year. It’s a rising threat, with national health care expenditures estimated to exceed $3 trillion in 2014 and spending continues to outpace inflation. The use of biometric technology is currently on the rise as a means to protect and secure the electronic health record (EHR). Hence, enter the new biometric systems, which combine our physical traits and personal history to create a unique record can help reduce frauds and enhance healthcare security.
The health care and health insurance industries also rely on biometrics for patient identification purposes as well. Blood banks are beginning to use fingerprint scans of donors to help them comply with federal regulations that require positive identification at every donation. It has also reduced the likelihood of duplicate donor records and has been able to stop storing Social Security numbers, a practice that consumers increasingly object to. Besides, biometric system which allows a person to use any kind of conventional identification is a health insurance card, Medicare card, or a private-label card—to create a “smart card” embedded with a chip that contains their biometrics. When a patient returns, he is asked to swipe the card, calling up their photo for a registrar to compare to the person standing in front of them. The system can also match biometric data to the smart card.
Additionally, biometrics is making inroads in many healthcare use cases, such as the authentication of healthcare workers. Some healthcare facilities have integrated biometrics into electronic health record systems, authenticating clinical and administrative users who need access to patient records. For example, nurses may use biometric log in procedures to access digitized patient information, as hospitals begin to move away from passwords, which can be used in unauthorized ways if they are shared or written down in an unsecure location. Many EMR systems will automatically timeout, forcing nurses to log on repeatedly throughout the shift. Iris recognition technologies can be even more efficient – an iris scanner on top of a computer monitor can log them in as soon as they sit down at the workstation and log them out as soon as they move away. Biometric security measures can help guarantee the physical safety of newborns and prevent the theft of narcotics, by making a positive identification of people rather than badges.
With imminent changes to the health system and as medical record management capabilities change with technology, patient identification mechanisms will undoubtedly follow suit. The capabilities and scalability of biometrics with regard to patient identification remove many risks of forgery, misidentification, and record security. The use of biometrics in healthcare has greatly affected the security of the EHR and continues to affect the way healthcare is provided. This identification method which is used for recognize patient and verify employees accessing data has the ability to strengthen the overall security of patient data and confidentiality.