Why Finger Print Scanners, Voice Recognition Could Be Key Home Health Tools

Verifying the identities of patients and home health providers could be as simple as a fingerprint scan, as biometric technologies could become much more common.

A recently published report by Tractica explores the market opportunity for biometrics—defined as the process of detecting and recording a person’s unique physical attributes as a means of confirming identity—in the health care industry. Though the home health care realm has barely dipped its toes in the water, the technology’s potential appears promising for the industry, particularly in terms of increasing processing capabilities and security measures.

“There’s a growing need, and security is a big driver for it, especially with all of the data breaches,” Charul Vyas, principal analyst at Tractica Digital Health, tells HHCN. “Having biometrics can make a patient feel more secure.”

There are two categories of biometrics: hardware services, such as iris imaging and fingerprint readers, and software services, including facial and voice recognition. The purpose of biometrics as an identification method in health care, Vyas says, is to ensure that the correct patient is receiving the appropriate treatment or medication and to verify the caregiver. Specifically, biometrics can prove that a skilled nursing professional visited the patient and at what time while authenticating the patient at the same time.

Despite their promise, biometric technologies have their fair share of challenges, Vyas says. Privacy concerns make some patients hesitant to use them, she says, and like any other form of technology, they’re not entirely fool-proof, at times rejecting the correct person or providing false readings.

Still, Vyas says biometrics enhance the user experience, negating the difficulty of remembering usernames and passwords and saving time as a result. 

“It’s something that care providers are looking at,” she says. “Biometrics can definitely help alleviate some of those issues.”

Written by Kourtney Liepelt