4 Applications of Biometrics in Telehealth Services

Biometrics have been in use in various industries, such as financial services and law enforcement for years. The increasing implementation of advanced authentication and recognition systems in smartphones and tablets has caused the biometrics technology market size to grow exponentially, and is expected to reach $68.6 billion by 2025. In the healthcare industry, biometrics can help processes be more efficient and secure, particularly with telehealth services, especially now in the time of COVID-19. From making payments to ensuring that all your doctors can easily access authorized information, below is a breakdown of how biometrics are being used in telehealth services:

Contactless payments

Many people have opted for telehealth visits during the pandemic, meaning healthcare providers need to support digital payment methods. However, cybersecurity has also become a concern when patients need to access their personally identifiable information online. To prevent fraud, providers must implement digital verification and re-verification — and the safest option for this is biometric authentication. Many smartphones, like Samsung and OnePlus, already have capacitive fingerprint technology, and more are expected to be integrated with biometric facial recognition in the next few years. These will help heighten the security of patient transactions.

Biometric monitoring

Biometric monitoring tracks a person’s vital statistics, such as temperature and heart rate. These data are unobtrusively measured by wearable biometric monitoring devices. Some examples include smartwatches like Fitbit and wearable ECG monitors like Wellue’s DuoEK. They contain sensors that enable them to monitor activities like motion and muscle activity. Then with the right tools and systems, the devices can ensure signal integrity, meaning that a signal is not degraded as it transfers from a driver component to a receiver. Manufacturers can do this by providing well-defined routes that the signal can run through, surrounded by trace impedance and ground to prevent it from getting lost. These signals can then be transmitted to a smartphone or tablet where the information will be displayed to the user.

Secure patient verification

Telehealth services increase the risk of identity fraud in healthcare. A hacker can steal personal information and submit fake claims to health insurers, which can affect the level of medical care a patient receives due to subsequent financial problems. Aside from this, a patient’s medical record may be tampered with, leading to misdiagnosis, delay in care, and other possibly fatal consequences. To prevent any of these from happening, it’s important to establish zero-trust security with solid multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA practices typically involve usernames and passwords, and a registered device — which are things a person would know. On the other hand, using biometrics authentication as part of MFA means fortified verification since it hinges on unique characteristics like fingerprints and even body movements.

Better coordinated care

The shift to digitalization means a patient’s information can also be transferred to the Cloud in the form of an electronic health record (EHR) for easier access across different facilities and professionals. Healthcare is team-based, not only between a doctor and their patient but also among several healthcare practitioners. Typically, each doctor would have their own patient index and health record, which can lead to mistyped, exchanged, and lost information. But an EHR and a biometric identifier verifying patient data can help in the creation of a master patient index with fewer duplicate health records. This also results in highly coordinated care, more secure sharing of patient data among physicians, fewer medical errors, and safer prescriptions.