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Health care biometrics still must learn to play with others

Health care biometrics still must learn to play with others

Integration is the monster in the closet getting noisier and noisier from digital identity authentication companies serving the health care industry.

The same monster has been wished away by vendors since the days of mainframes, but dreams of one’s proprietary omnipotence (with the possible exception of Microsoft with Windows) always disappear.

Successful biometrics vendors eventually create some kind of kludge to win an important client who wants more options, buyout and bury competitors or accept industry standards to get at least some of the pie.

Then there are the industries — and health care is one — that are frozen with fear at the thought of pushing legacy systems out. Product managers who do not integrate their systems with decades-old systems find meeting goals difficult.

Health care biometrics firms targeting health care are on the path to rational thinking, but they are still able to ignore the scratching in the closet. People are still betting on market dominance.

Pymnts, publisher of news in the payment industry, has a couple interesting stories on the topic.

Telehealth became a fact of life for everyone in the United States with health care last year, and it was not nearly always a pleasant experience. According to the publication, the demand by consumers for digital health care grew between 50 and 175 times once COVID-19 settled in.

Authentication portals were a point of friction for many patients — how many likely will come to light in future industry analyses.

Pymnts paints a picture of a multiple-layered balancing act. First it was patient telemedicine preferences. Then companies had to figure out how to meet those needs securely. Not mentioned were the evolving opinions of insurance companies.

Understandably, hospital executives are happy every day they are not confronted with a data leak or attack. Yet, those comparatively secure systems are safe-ish precisely because they make it hard for anyone to gain access.

Biometrics and AI have to be integrated into systems so that access restrictions can be eased, implementing sophisticated signal processing that spots deviations from norms that better reflect how patients interact with systems over time.

That would mean not challenging every time someone accesses systems — or even every month or so on an arbitrary schedule.

It is interesting to note that even as patients ask for less access friction, they are becoming more aware of possible resulting security compromises.

Citing an Experian white paper, Pymnts notes that a growing percentage, now 54 percent, of patients have qualms, and younger patients are the ones who are most worried.

Trust, it seems, will have to increase right along with integration.

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