Healthcare Technology Featured Article

November 19, 2012

Voice Biometrics May Be Key to Keeping Electronic Patient Information Secure

It’s no secret that healthcare is becoming catastrophically expensive in the U.S. Legislation like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has taken some stabs to reduce costs, but rising prices, coupled with an aging population, is likely to still cause healthcare to take the second-largest bite out of U.S. consumers’ budgets, second only to housing costs.

Bringing the costs of healthcare down is a topic on everyone’s minds. Technology has gone a long way toward starting the process: electronic medical records that can be shared across physicians’ offices, hospitals, diagnostic and imaging centers, treatment centers, long- and short-term care homes and other facilities will help cut down on administrative costs. Mobile health applications have entered the marketplace as of late, too, promising to make medical administration cheaper with concepts such as self-service, patient self-reporting and medical call centers that can take the pressure off physicians and emergency rooms.

While medical IT technology proceeds at a breakneck rate, there is one potential fly in the ointment: security. Medical information is private (and regulated by healthcare privacy legislation like HIPAA), which means the burden to keep private information private is high. Passwords and log-in names can be stolen, databases can be hacked and disgruntled internal workers can misuse private information.

So how can you keep patient information private in a world of technology that seems to be making privacy a thing of the past? According to a recent article on Becker’s Hospital View, this is where voice biometrics should be entering the picture.

Instead of fumbling with insecure passwords that hold back only the most amateurish hackers, hospitals should be taking advantage of the most natural of human interfaces: the voice. It also happens to be one of the most secure.

“Biometrics is an intuitive fit into solving the growing issues of health data security,” writes Travis True, VP of Business Development for speech technology company VoiceVault. “A biometric is something that is unique to an individual and cannot be replicated or copied. If a device is misplaced, even the most sophisticated fraudsters cannot gain access to data, because they are not that person. Voice biometric solutions in particular, are a natural and intuitive fit into the mobile health market for securing tablet and smartphone-based healthcare applications.”

In the very near future, it’s likely that the healthcare IT industry will see an increasing number of solutions that are driven by voice biometrics. This method of authentication also saves healthcare workers’ valuable time and eliminates the need to remember multiple logins and passwords. For all these reasons, the technology may prove to be a major contender in the effort to cut healthcare expenditures and protect patient data integrity, writes True.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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