5 ways biometrics can be used in healthcare

19 Dec 5 ways biometrics can be used in healthcare

The rise in the use of biometrics is visible across almost all industries, but one industry in particular that we’re seeing a profound use of the up and coming technology is the healthcare sector. In this particular industry, the threats posed from both inside and outside an organisation are very prominent, both in terms of cyber and IT risks and physical intrusion and theft. As this is the case, the need to ramp up security is arguably one of the most important modern factors that the healthcare industry is facing. 

In this post, we explore the ways in which the healthcare sector is implementing biometric technology and how it impacts the role of security. 


1) Accurate Patient Identification

We’ve seen the use of biometric fingerprint scanners become commonly used as an identification method in various places, such as to access smartphones and to gain entry to workplaces. It is this familiarity with the technology that has led to an increase in its application across industries, including within hospitals, hospices and care homes to accurately identify patients and staff. This works by recording a fingerprint against a patient’s medical record and using this to ensure the patient in-question is the correct one. This minimises the chances of fraud by those claiming to be another patient to gain access to pharmaceuticals or healthcare where unnecessary. It’s reported that prescription fraud in the UK costs the NHS an estimated £256 million per year, due to patients incorrectly receiving free prescriptions. Biometrics can help to combat this by applying to a patient’s record their current occupation or status and whether they’re eligible for free medicines or not. 


2) Access Control & Restriction

Biometrics can be used to secure the premises of a healthcare organisation, by only granting access to particular areas, wards, operating theatres, offices, devices and more to those who are authorised to do so. By integrating a fingerprint reader with an access control system, you can seamlessly manage your personnel’s access to a host of areas through the use of multiple fingerprint readers. This will ensure that those outside of the organisation, or those whose access is prohibited to a particular area, are not able to enter through the use of someone else’s key fob or pin. This minimises both internal and external risk factors and also helps to account for your personnel’s whereabouts during any incidents that may occur to help you better manage protocols. 


3) Safer Prescribing Practices

If you are able to identify a patient and access their medical records through the use of their fingerprint, you can be absolutely certain that the medication you are prescribing is safe for them and that it is the correct medication for their diagnosis. As a fingerprint is a permanent, unchangeable characteristic from birth, fingerprint scanners work particularly well for medical records, enabling healthcare staff to gain access to a patient’s full medical history before coming to any major decisions about their care plan. This becomes particularly useful for any locum, temporary or new staff that may not be familiar with the patient base of your organisation to ensure both accurate prescriptions and diagnoses. 


4) Secure Patient Data Transfer

The way that biometric technology can make data patient transfers more secure is two-fold. The first is by identifying the correct medical record from the patient’s fingerprint. The second is that upon sending this record or medical notes, or any other patient data to another physician or healthcare party, the physician will be required to present their own fingerprint to gain access, authorising that they have permission to do so. This means that patient data cannot fall into the wrong hands and can be safely and accurately transferred between hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, opticians, dentists and more. This can slowly begin to eradicate human error, as it gives a more definitive way of ensuring the correct details, corresponding to the correct patient, have been transferred to the correct third-party. 


5) Workforce Management

By implementing biometric technology into the workplace in the healthcare sector, not only can you gain remote control over the areas that your personnel can access across departments, but you can also monitor each individual employee’s time and attendance. By integrating with a time and attendance management software, you can track the exact time an employee enters the premises, where they frequent in the time they are at work and when they leave. This helps to inform payroll to ensure this is accurate for each individual member of staff and can also help your HR department in the event of any discrepancies. 

Implementing biometric technology in the healthcare sector can truly change the course of security, both in terms of IT and the physical premises and staff. There are so many ways that fingerprint scanners can be put to use in terms of operations and as biometrics are becoming increasingly sophisticated, we’re sure to see the possibilities and opportunities grow.

At ievo, we create robust fingerprint readers that seamlessly integrate with a host of leading access control and time and attendance management systems. Our Ultimate series of biometric fingerprint scanners is particularly useful in the healthcare sector, as due to the multispectral imaging sensor fitted within the reader, detection can be successful even when used with wet hands and through some latex gloves. This enables staff to move through the premises in a quick and efficient manner, which we understand can be vital within this sector. The Ultimate series can be used internally or externally around the premises and in multiple locations, so you can create an access control system that is unique to your business and that works for you and your staff. 

ievo readers do not store fingerprint data within the device itself, instead when initially registering a piece of biometric data, the fingerprint is translated into a mathematical template and sent directly to the ievo control board, and the original print is then deleted. This ensures that fingerprints can’t be swept from the reader and replicated by another person to gain entry. Our readers also feature liveness detection, meaning any spoofs cannot ‘trick’ the reader into granting entry. 

For further information on how an ievo reader can improve operations and security within your healthcare organisation, book a demo or get in touch with us today with any questions you may have. 

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