Healthcare biometrics is an emerging modality of choice to keep pace with regulatory and security requirements for healthcare networks. From patient portals to electronic medical records systems to delivery of telemedicine, network security rests on proper authentication of the individuals accessing the system. But it’s harder than it looks.
E-News in For the Record magazine interviewed Biometric Signature ID CEO Jeff Maynard on biometrics as the latest modality in healthcare security. “Most of the administrators I speak to tell me that their biggest fear is having their organization’s EHR system compromised,” says Jeff Maynard. “The stakes have been upped by the HIPAA and HITECH acts. When you allow unauthorized access, then you can be held personally liable for the fines, as well as the organization.”
Healthcare biometrics can meet the demands of HIPAA but static physiological biometrics have drawbacks. “Fingerprint scanning seems convenient, but will lead to many cases of blocked access, especially in a clinical environment,” Maynard says. “Antibacterial hand creams, powder from latex gloves, etc. will dirty the screen and reduce accuracy down to as low as 20% or 30%. If authorized users can’t access the system, they will rebel and refuse to use it.”
Maynard discusses BSI’s multi-factor biometric BioSig-ID as a viable option for healthcare as well as some of the other considerations in using biometrics for identity verification.
“Meaningful use. Two words of towering importance that now remind every hospital administrator, CFO, and medical group CEO that they must comply with newly promulgated regulations from federal HIPAA and HITECH legislation, or risk forfeiting funds previously received from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
But while emphasis originally stopped at the word “meaningful”—as in, is the EMR system being employed as demanded by law—greater emphasis now lands squarely on the word “use”—as in, will the physicians, paramedical staff, and record-keeping and insurance-billing departments actually use the EMR as required? After all, what good is any electronic system if the user experience suffers?”