The Value of Biometrics in the Health Space

Biometrics are gaining in popularity, from the standardization of fingerprint sensors in smartphones, to use of facial recognition in airports. While the hype today is in those two markets, there is still a lot of interest and activity in other spaces including the health sector. In the health sector, biometrics add new valuable use cases including improving identification of the patient, which leads to better access control, better clinical trial studies, and improved medication adherence. Below we go into depth of these three use cases to show the value of biometrics in the health space.

Access control to prevent disease transmission

Problem solved: Using biometrics can help identify and track a patient/employee, where it is used to monitor their location and prevent them from moving to controlled spaces.

Example deployment: Baylor Scott & White (a hospital in Texas) is working with DynOptix to beta test a dual fever reading camera with a simple ID badging process for access control in a maternity ward. In the future, DynOptix plans to integrate facial recognition with the system.

Types of biometrics that work: While some companies like Nuo use fingerprint recognition, more companies and developers are going towards facial recognition (such as Ayonix or Kimaldi) as it is contactless and relatively fast, and reduce the amount of physical contact with surfaces that can potentially transmit diseases.

Clinical trial enrollment verification

Problem solved: Using biometrics can decrease the number of people enrolling in multiple clinical trials, which can skew results.

Example deployment: Research Centers of America (RCA) works with Verified Clinical Trials to implement fingerprint biometric recognition to identify and stop those that enroll in multiple trials.

Types of biometrics that work: Most biometrics, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, can be used in a kiosk fashion at the check-in of the hospital.

Medication adherence

Problem solved: Using biometrics can verify that the right person is taking the drug as scheduled.

Example deployment: The NIH released a study on AiCure’s facial recognition and adherence system. Patients enrolled in the trial (for stroke medication) showed a 50% improvement in adherence.

Types of biometrics that work: Biometrics that can confirm both the identity patient and that the patient has adhered to the prescription work best. This includes video facial recognition from companies like AiCure. There are other solutions in testing phases including Intent which uses fingerprint recognition.

In addition to the above use cases, these technologies can target traditional biometric applications, such as identity theft protection and improving patient authentication processing. While the space has relatively less hype than other areas – including biometrics for mobile payments – hospitals, and medical centers are likely to continue to introduce biometrics for their own facilities. As the focus is on mobile today, readers new to biometrics and would like a space with less competition should consider applying their technology to the health market. To target the health market, the hardware largely remains the sam; instead, developers will need to innovate on the software side and the integration aspect of the technology. For example, developers targeting clinical trial enrollment will need to work with a partner network of hospitals to centralize the data to ensure that patients aren’t in multiple trials. For less software-savvy biometrics players, they should consider working with partners in the space to develop the system for them.

By: Tiffany Huang