Your New Biometric Password May Be Your Veins


Biometrics has been discussed for years as the answer to our security concerns and password woes. The implementation of these advanced authentication methods has been slower than expected in most industries. Most of us are still struggling to manage passwords and the data breaches we hear about regularly. On a recent visit to the doctor I got a taste of a new biometric authentication process in person in the form of vein analytic biometrics.

Vein scanning biometric systems use infrared light waves to analyze the structure of an individual's veins in their hand. In this case, it is linked to a patient profile that contains their relevant information from insurance to emergency contacts. The scan provides immediate access to a patient's medical records without divulging sensitive information such as social security number and birthdate on subsequent visits, consequently helping to stop identity thieves. The technology was being used to register patients for office visits and testing. Furthermore, vein biometric scanning is not transferable and can provide a positive identity for a patient who might be unconscious or unable to respond.

Imprivata, a Massachusetts-based company, has developed the vein biometric system for use in healthcare settings to enable identification of the patient at any time in their life. Vein biometric scans do not change with age or other life changes, allowing patients to be rapidly identified without compromising their personal data. Imprivata has made its technology available for use on desktops, at patient kiosks, and other technology locations in use at hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. The technology also eliminates some of the stigma some patients associate with fingerprints that many see as more of a law enforcement technique. Fujitsu, Hitachi, and M2Sys are also marketing vein biometric technology across many industries and markets.

Research Markets and Services predicts that the vein biometrics market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% from 2016 to 2020. The firm predicts that palm vein recognition will be used both as a single authentication and in dual authentication scenarios in a broad range of industries from utilities, government, and financial services as a fraud deterrent.

On my particular visit, the vein scanning didn't seem to expedite my family member's trip to get tests performed because there was a setup process to create the record and then the scan. Once the record is created the subsequent visits should be more seamless and expeditious. Additionally, I noticed that the scanners were not yet prevalent in all offices in the building.

Like other biometric identification systems, if the technology is fully utilized and integrated across all platforms, and all platforms are integrated with each other, the potential is incredible for medical professionals and patients. Patients visiting multiple doctors would no longer need to carry copies of their records and prescriptions. If insurance companies participate, the necessity of the dreaded paper referral could disappear. The pharmacy industry could also benefit from the elimination of drug shopping and drug interactions since all patient records could be associated with the patient.

Like any new identification technology, privacy issues also abound. Patients may not want every physician viewing their medical history. Patients may also not want their information accessed if they are incapacitated for fear of confidentiality and misuse. There is also concern about storing the vein scans and using them for identification when ransomware and hacking could cripple systems that access patient records. There is no doubt the technology is innovative and can help make the medical profession more efficient, but it does come with risks.

Have you seen vein biometrics in use? Would you use it in a medical facility? Are you concerned about its security?

Maryam Donnelly, VP Marketing Services, Impact Marketing

Maryam Donnelly is Vice President of Marketing Services at Impact Marketing. She has spent more than 15 years leading marketing strategy, communications, product marketing, market research, and business development at Fortune 500 companies including Prudential Insurance, Automatic Data Processing, and Travelport (formerly Cendant). She has been a principal at Impact Marketing, a boutique marketing services company based in the New York metro area, for the past five years. Impact Marketing provides the spectrum of businesses with strategic marketing consulting services including marketing planning, marketing communications, marketing management, and analysis. Maryam holds a BBA and MBA in marketing from Hofstra University. She can be reached at maryam@feeltheimpactnow.com.

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Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/14/2017 8:44:31 AM
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As far as surgery or aging is concerned I suspect the system will work like any other password system.  There will be periodic updates to your password to ensure it still works for you.  If you have an annual medical appointment then resetting your password annually would just be part of that visit.  If you have a surgery that will affect your password then the hospital doing  the surgery can reset your password after you are healed up.  I suspect there will have to be some kind of backup in the event that you break both hands and have casts that the sensors can't see through.  

Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/13/2017 8:15:19 AM
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..

In her blog post, Maryam asks

Have you seen vein biometrics in use? Would you use it in a medical facility? Are you concerned about its security?

I haven't encountered this ID process, but I wonder how reliable it is as the individual ages.

Definitely beats iris scans or having an ID chip implanted, as far as I'm concerned ... 

..

Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/13/2017 2:30:04 AM
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It would be more sanitary than finger print scanning since we cough into and touch things with hands. 

I'm sure any system can be fooled by any one with the means and determination.

However, I do like this for hospital identification.   Sometimes lab techs and nurses are sloppy with identification and it would be great to have a system that would record that a pateint had been properly identified and what the medications should be before proceeding. 

 

Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/11/2017 7:01:24 PM
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Ariella, from the research I conducted it's very feasible financially with more providers coming. Regarding the injury, it would need to be an injury on your palm or finger severe enough to change the structure of your veins. so it would be pretty rare. In that case, a rescan would be in order.

Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/11/2017 11:33:28 AM
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I would guess you would have to be rescanned. Interesting thought.

Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/11/2017 11:05:31 AM
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@tomsg I wonder, though, what if a person has surgery or some kind of injury that could have an impact? Also I wonder if this would be cost-effective enough to really prove to be a feasible biometric solution.

Re: Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/10/2017 12:11:06 PM
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I haven't seen vein or palm biometric scanning yet, but it makes sense to me. And starting with the medical field is genius. With major investments in healthcare records happening now, the timing is perfect.

Improvement over fingerprints
  • 8/10/2017 10:13:44 AM
NO RATINGS

With finger prints, you can have a finger removed by a bad actor and they can use it to get in with a fingerprint sensor. For this technology , I don't think they can remove your hand to fool it. Viens tend to collapse without a blood supply. So maybe this is the next step in bio-security.

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