How Biometric Security is Changing the Healthcare Industry

image of phone screen showing face scanning. Text on image reads: Biometric Security in healthcare

Advanced technology has been transforming the healthcare industry for decades, and meaningful changes have been made in how patients receive care and communicate with care teams. But little attention was given to healthcare operations and data security, creating opportunities for fraud, data leaks and workflow inefficiencies.

The latest in biometric security technology is changing that. With biometric authentication, healthcare providers are prioritizing the advancement of the entire healthcare landscape, including patient identification, data security and operational workflows.

What is Biometric Security and How Does it Impact the Healthcare Industry?

Biometric security uses unique physical or behavioral traits for identification. Types of biometrics that might be used in verification include facial, fingerprint or voice recognition. Healthcare providers can use biometric security to control who can access patient records and data.

Biometrics also reduce the risk of patient misidentifications that could lead to medical errors or inappropriate care. With improved verification technology, providers can ensure they’re delivering the right care to the right patients.

With the rise of telehealth services, biometrics can be especially helpful. Using biometric security systems to validate patient identities can prevent data breaches and identity theft while still providing the convenience of at-home or on-the-go healthcare services.

The use of biometrics can also reduce mundane administrative tasks that lead to human errors. Providers can focus on more important and fulfilling tasks while patients experience shorter wait times, less paperwork and a better overall experience.

How Biometric Technology Works

Biometric technology captures and stores an individual’s unique psychological or behavioral features. The most common types of biometric identification are face and fingerprint scans, like the technology used to unlock smartphones and mobile devices. Other types of biometrics might use palm vein patterns, retina scans or voice recognition.

These scans are then converted into biometric templates that digitally represent the individual’s unique features and characteristics. During the identification process, the biometric technology compares newly scanned data with the stored templates. Matching data points (or lack thereof) can then be used to confirm or deny the individual’s identity.

Top Use Cases for Biometric Security in Healthcare Organizations

Biometric security is primarily used to fight fraud, improve workflows and protect patient data. Here’s a breakdown of how biometrics fit in each healthcare use case.

Fighting Healthcare Fraud

Fraud in healthcare is a major concern for insurance companies, pharmacies and more. Individuals use stolen or falsified information to impersonate patients in order to make fake insurance claims or illegally access sensitive patient data. In some cases, fraudsters might even pose as someone else in an attempt to access treatments and medications.

Biometric security software helps combat healthcare fraud by verifying patient identities during enrollment and when they attempt to access digital healthcare data, apps and systems. For example:

  • Healthcare insurance platforms can use facial recognition tools to ensure claims made through digital portals are submitted by the insured individual
  • Hospitals and clinics can use fingerprint technology to allow approved clinicians to access patient data, replacing (easily stolen) card keys or (easily forgotten) PINs and passwords
  • Treatment and medication providers can validate patient identity at in-person clinics to ensure they’re receiving appropriate care

Increase Efficiency in Healthcare Work Streams

Biometrics can be used to make healthcare providers’ jobs more efficient and improve the level of care given to patients. Using biometric systems can reduce paperwork and administrative tasks while also providing providers with more accurate customer data so they can make better care decisions.

Here are some examples of how biometrics can increase efficiency in healthcare:

  • Healthcare providers can use fingerprint or facial recognition technology to quickly access health information records and care history
  • Biometric scans, such as fingerprints, can be used to identify or access patient medical records if the patient is unable to communicate symptoms, allergies, or other critical medical information
  • Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities can use biometric scans to check patients in to appointments

Protect Patient Information & Electronic Health Records

Maintaining and accessing up-to-date, accurate patient information and electronic health records (EHRs) is crucial for delivering the right care to patients. But because these records contain such sensitive patient data, EHRs are at high risk for fraud and cyberattacks.

Biometrics can improve the quality of patient data collected in healthcare systems and ensure it is only accessed by approved parties. Here’s how:

  • Biometrics can reduce health record duplicates and ensure all patient information is stored in one place
  • Unique biometric identifiers can eliminate the risk of confusing patients with similar demographic data (such as having the same names)
  • Fingerprint or facial recognition can be used to approve or deny patients and healthcare providers attempting to access EHRs
  • Biometric-enabled telemedicine and healthcare technology companies can remotely access and update EHRs to provide better patient care

Gartner®️ Report

Market Guide for Identity Verification

Why Make the Switch to Biometric Technology in the Healthcare Field

The future of the healthcare industry is in biometric technology. As patients search for more convenient ways to get high-quality care, it’s critical that providers take the appropriate measures to protect against fraud and prevent patient data from landing in the wrong hands.

Making the switch to biometric technology can:

  • Create better patient experiences: Biometric tools allow for more convenient and accessible healthcare options, giving patients more control over their care experience. Incorporating biometric technology with EHRs also makes it easier for patients to securely and efficiently maintain complete medical records as they move, change doctors, or visit out-of-network care specialists.
  • Improve trust in the healthcare industry: Compared to traditional authentication methods like ID cards and passwords, biometric security tools are exponentially more difficult to abuse. In addition to reducing fraud and identity theft, biometrics can give patients peace of mind knowing their data is safe and secure.
  • Enhance healthcare operational efficiencies: Eliminate time-consuming and repetitive administrative tasks and allow healthcare providers to focus on more fulfilling tasks. Using biometrics where applicable can improve team productivity and decision-making, contributing to better patient care.

Biometric Solution in Healthcare FAQs

How can facial recognition technology benefit healthcare providers and patients?

Facial recognition technology enhances patient identity accuracy and reduces misidentification errors and fraud risks. Patients receive better care and their sensitive data stays out of the hands of criminals and scammers.

For healthcare providers, facial recognition technology can improve workflows and enable efficient access to patient records and other sensitive data. It also lowers the risks of miscommunications and misunderstandings and provides new opportunities to deliver superior services.

Is biometric data compliant with privacy laws for medical records?

As with other patient medical data collected and stored by healthcare providers, biometric data must comply with privacy laws and data security regulations.

It’s crucial that healthcare providers using biometric data implement the appropriate compliance measures to keep information in identity management systems secure. These measures might include data encryption, secure storage, and consent-based data collection and usage.

How does biometric technology impact healthcare access control and ensure only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data?

Traditional verification methods, such as IDs or passwords, can be easily stolen or fabricated. Biometric information, on the other hand, is unique to each individual and is nearly impossible to duplicate.

Facial recognition, fingerprint scans, and other biometric data provide more accurate identity verification to prevent unauthorized access to patient medical records and hospital data.

What are some future trends and advancements in biometric technology that could further enhance healthcare security?

As biometric technology becomes more common in healthcare, expect to see:

  • Multi-factor authentication. Using multiple biometric modalities, such as a fingerprint scan and facial recognition, can provide enhanced security.
  • Continuous authentication. Real-time monitoring and identity verification can offer in-the-moment alerts of threats or unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Biometric-enabled applications. Biometric security can be applied to apps, in-home devices, and other technologies to provide better, more accessible care to patients.

Continue to Advance Your Healthcare Organization with Jumio

When it comes to patient safety, you can never be too cautious. Biometric security measures, like those offered by Jumio, help healthcare organizations of all kinds deliver superior service while ensuring patient data is up-to-date, accurate, and (most importantly) safe. Improved operational efficiencies and workflow productivity is just the cherry on top.


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