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Startup’s biometric system facilitates health insurance claims in Kenya


Biometrics and digital ID

A biometric platform built by LCT Africa, a Nairobi-based ICT startup in Kenya, is now helping to facilitate the management of health insurance claims in the East African nation, reports Business Daily.

The system, used to authenticate patient data using fingerprint biometrics, can be used both as an app and a web portal. It has eased insurance claims for about 26,000 users to the tune of about Sh100 million (about US$932,000), according to the company’s chief operations officer.

More than 1,500 of the biometric devices have been distributed to hospitals such as the Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan University Hospital, Mater Hospital and MP Shah Hospital, and there are plans to expand its use even to rural areas where power and internet connectivity are a problem. The portable device comes with two SIM cards which can load mobile data and interchange networks and a rechargeable battery that can keep power for many days.

Business Daily notes that the device has been helping health personnel input data of insurance clients, replacing a cumbersome process hitherto based on much paperwork. The time to sort out such claims has drastically been reduced from an average four months to just one day thanks to the biometric platform, the report adds.

The startup’s COO Sylvia Kanyoro was quoted by Business Daily as saying the cloud-based biometric system was developed in response to the problem of manual and costly data authentication processes undertaken by health officials.

“For a long time, the process of data entry in Kenya has been too inconvenient and costly for the health sector. That’s why we created a biometric end-to-end healthcare administration platform to address these challenges. A paper document can easily get lost or misplaced, ending up in the hands of someone who isn’t supposed to be privy to the private information it contains. That’s the risk we’re trying to avoid,” Kanyoro says.

The device also has a touchless system that matches insurance card numbers of users with their stored fingerprints as a biometric identification method to check identity theft and other forms of fraud.

Kanyoro says the goal of LCT Africa is to help revolutionize Kenya’s insurance management system by helping the more than seven million citizens who pay insurance premiums monthly to be able to enjoy the services they pay for. She added that for now, the devices are being shared out for free.

Hospital managers and some health insurance subscribers have already praised the deployment of the devices as a game-changer for the country’s health insurance management system.

Biometric capture for subscription to a Universal Health Coverage scheme in Kenya went underway late last year.

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