While the outlook for biometrics in the healthcare industry is strong, according to a new Tractica report, use of such tools in the industry is scarce.
Examining the market opportunity for healthcare biometrics, researchers found that use of the tools can help the industry, which suffers from limited budgets but relentless growth in technological advances, according to an announcement.
Tractica forecasts that biometrics revenue will grow in healthcare to $3.5 billion in 2024; in 2015 it's expected to be about $250 million.
Biometrics can be used throughout the industry for provider and patient authentication, pharmacy dispensing, remote patient access, patient ID and tracking, and more.
One issue in the health industry the biometrics can help solve is security of protected health information, according to the report.
Some ways the tools can be used to do this include:
- Fingerprint recognition for remote dispensing kiosks
- Iris imaging or fingerprint recognition to access medical devices, electronic health records and IT systems
- Care provider authentication to reduce fraud, especially in the case of home visits
- Use of a biometric patient ID wristband in hospitals to track patients and scan for patient information
Providers are struggling to keep patient data protected as cyberattacks across the industry increase, and are looking to new technologies to fight back against hackers. FierceHealthIT earlier this year looked at what hospital providers and health payers currently are doing to improve security of data.
Biometrics also offers tremendous opportunities for mobile healthcare, from improving data security to providing great healthcare data access housed in remote locations, according to Mohamma Shahnewaz, a senior executive at MSSYS Technology.
However, as with much of health IT, there are barriers to use of biometrics, which the use of fingerprints, the report says.
While fingerprints are one of the "most recognizable biometric modalities," they are not fool-proof. Fingerprints can be compromised, the report states, through creation of a rubber impression of the fingertip or even cutting someone's finger off.
Consumer acceptance and adoption of biometric technology are also among the barriers it faces.