Connect with us


Transforming healthcare through digital identity

By Philipp Pointner, Chief of Digital Identity, Jumio



Philipp Pointner, Chief of Digital Identity at Jumio, discusses how biometric verification can bolster the security of patient data amid the threat of cybercrime. 

Catalysed by the pandemic, the healthcare sector has fully entered the digital age with most providers now able to onboard new patients remotely and offer video consultations.

Currently, over 40 million citizens have an NHS login where they can schedule GP appointments and organise their prescriptions from home, and most NHS trusts have electronic patient record systems in place.

But along with this digital transformation is a dramatic rise in cybercrime in the form of data breaches, compromising the confidentiality at the core of this industry and making day-to-day operations more difficult

In addition to violating the privacy of patients, these data breaches greatly increase the chances of medical fraud, as cybercriminals and people who purchase stolen data on the dark web are empowered to impersonate legitimate patients more easily.

Therefore, all sectors of healthcare need to focus on security and properly vet and verify their patients to ensure that they are who they claim to be – and this starts with verifying patient identity at every touchpoint.

Appetite for digital identity verification using biometrics

Introducing robust identity verification is one way to bolster security.

Some healthcare services have sought to improve their patient identification process with multi-factor authentication via text messages, but what’s been missing from the equation are unique patient identifiers; namely, biometrics.

The appetite for these protocols already exists — Jumio’s recent consumer research on online identity found seven in ten Brits would spend more time on identity verification measures for a more secure online healthcare service.

Of course, these measures can take many forms such as two-step authentication and security questions, but 63 per cent of UK consumers believe that biometric verification, such as facial scanning or fingerprints, is needed for online healthcare services.

Improved patient safety, security, and privacy

A 2023 report by the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee found the state of NHS digitalisation to be “inadequate”.

The report cites poor interoperability, which prevents digital systems from transferring information and syncing with each other, as a significant block to an integrated health and care record for all patients.

Whilst there have been successes, for example, in the take-up of the NHS App, the infrastructure of digital healthcare remains based on fragmented technologies.

Philipp Pointner

This makes healthcare an enticing target for cybercriminals, putting patient data and the credibility of healthcare services on the line.

Introducing encrypted biometric verification would give patients confidence that their personal health information is handled securely, and only authorised individuals have access to their data.

Patients would seamlessly gain access to their consolidated medical records, and this transparency would not only enhance patient satisfaction but also foster trust between patients and healthcare professionals, resulting in more effective care.

Healthcare providers can be more assured they are dealing with the correct patient.

When someone logs in or attempts to refill an online prescription, digital health platforms can require selfies which can be compared to an original template to ensure a match with the account owner.

Given the rise of spoofing – using a photo, video, or another substitute for the authorised person – it’s important that verification is coupled with liveness detection to ensure the patient is physically present, not a spoof or deepfake.

With greater confidence in patient identity, biometric verification helps ensure that providers, hospitals, pharmacies and laboratories provide sensitive medical information, test results and prescriptions to the actual patient — not an imposter.

Moreover, while pharmacists usually judge a child’s competence to understand the prescribed medicine, this is becoming increasingly challenging as online pharmacies become more popular.

ID verification with biometrics can detect and direct underage patients to video calls, enabling pharmacists to make informed decisions while maintaining the efficiency of digital healthcare.

Quicker patient intake and care delivery

Introducing biometric verification would also streamline existing cumbersome form-filling and document gathering, simplifying patient onboarding, and reducing the risk of data duplication.

For instance, when a patient enters a medical facility, a biometric search using this type of data can confidently locate the corresponding identity in the master index.

This search determines with a high degree of certainty if a record exists for that patient.

If the individual is already registered, medical staff can access existing health data and expedite quality care, which is especially useful when patients are unable to assert their identity.

The risk of creating a duplicate health record for a patient that already exists in the system is mitigated, as is the possibility of overlooking critical medical data needed for proper treatment.

Embracing digital identity

Digital identity proofing and authentication solutions can be used to not only improve the quality and efficiency of patient service but to ensure that hospitals, pharmacies, and laboratories provide sensitive medical information, test results and prescriptions to the actual patient.

Embracing digital identity in healthcare is not only a technological advancement but a pathway to better outcomes for all.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending stories