Fingerprint scanner identifies subsurface skin characteristics to diagnose healthcare fraud in S. Africa

Fingerprint sensors that identify unique tissue properties of the finger are being rolled out in South Africa to combat identity theft to access health services.

According to a report from eHealth News, South Africa’s National Department of Health has chosen to use biometrics to combat fraud practices, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex. In particular, patients may pretend to be someone else to use their medical aid benefits, which could be fraudulently billed to medical aid organisations.

The fingerprint technology provided by Lumidigm, a US-based biometric authentication solutions company, is able to identify optical characteristics of subsurface skin which is highly variable between one person and another. It does this using different spectrums of light and advanced optical methods.

Not only does this help identify individuals from incomplete fingerprint readings, but it also overcomes the challenge of skin that’s too dry or too moist, or for the elderly whose skin has less collagen.

Lumidigm recently entered the African market in Benin where it provided the technology behind a vaccine monitoring program sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

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