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Biometrics deployed in healthcare for Thailand migrants, ID checks in China

Biometrics deployed in healthcare for Thailand migrants, ID checks in China

Thai authorities are hailing a project using iris and facial recognition to provide medical services to eligible migrant workers.

A pilot conducted by the Department of Disease Control (DDC) to improve access to healthcare services for foreign workers, refugees and members of ethnic minorities with biometrics has so far helped identify 8,619 migrant workers eligible for medical welfare and assistance, according to the Bangkok Post. Among them, 80 percent were from Myanmar.

The agency notes that the system has also eased the workload of officials.

Policies for improving access to healthcare services for non-Thai citizens received a push during the Covid-19 pandemic. The iris and facial scanning pilot was announced in April 2023 with state agencies signing the agreement on August 15th. The initiative covered five provinces, including the capital of Bangkok.

The project was developed by the Thai DDC with the help of the Thai Red Cross Society and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec).

Face biometrics replacing ID card checks at Chinese hospitals

In China, hospitals are using facial recognition to streamline patient diagnostics and medical insurance payments.

At the Maternal and Child Care Hospital in the city of Changsha, Hunan province, patients do not have to show their ID. Instead, doctors can scan the faces of their patients to confirm their identity while patients can make medical insurance payments and pick up medication through facial recognition.

Since 2022, handheld devices known as smart medical insurance terminals have been finding their way into the city’s major hospitals while nurses have been using digital thermometers integrated with cameras. The thermometers upload patient information in real-time and screen for impersonations. If there is a mismatch, the device triggers a warning, state media outlet China News reports.

China has been leveraging facial recognition technology to digitize and solve problems in its massive public healthcare system. Facial recognition-based medical bill payment services have been available since at least 2018 while hospitals have also used biometrics to prevent scalpers from reselling tickets for doctors’ appointments at an illegal markup. Chinese public hospitals require patients to collect a ticket and line up for appointments.

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