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The future of health and hospitality may be secured with biometrics

Biometrics leads the technology industry as a security and identification solution that is virtually tamper-proof. Plastic ID cards, signatures, tokens, and passwords have all proved their vulnerability over the years of identity theft, counterfeiting and fraud. So far, biometrics has surpassed them all in protecting identities and increasing efficiency in identification and verification across a variety of sectors.

When it comes to identity assurance, biometric technologies have an unsurpassed advantage; they are intrinsically linked to the person. They cannot be separated or lost, and are very hard to duplicate. With the rapid advancement in biometric technologies, new doors are being opened that require, or could benefit from biometric solutions.

Biometrics and healthcare

One such example is the healthcare sector. In the future, the healthcare and health insurance industries may rely on biometrics for patient identification purposes. According to a report by a technology research group, the healthcare industry is one of biometrics’ most promising opportunities and will generate revenues of $3.5bn (£2.5bn) annually by 2024.

Such a technology is crucial for improving efficiency in the healthcare industry, as well as preventing fraud and risks of theft. Biometrics can potentially replace patient wristbands and barcodes as identifiers, when nurses are administering medication at the bedside and in doing so prevent medication errors. To reduce billing fraud, biometric identification can be used instead of paper insurance cards. This will help prevent identity thefts to obtain insurance benefits. It will also prevent phantom insurance claims, because the biometric identifier will prove the patient’s presence at a health care facility.

This could further improve emergency medical care when the patient is unable to communicate or cannot be identified. Biometric identifiers will identify the patient instantly, alongside bringing up the patient’s previous medical records. In the transference of medical care from one facility to another, medical records duplication can create problems and the entire record may not reach the other facility. This could create serious problems for the patient’s treatment. In such cases, biometric identification could bring up all the records accurately, without fear of inaccuracy or mix-up. It will also eliminate the need to fill out medical forms repeatedly.

Healthcare providers suffer from high numbers of hackings every year. To prevent expensive risks, medical companies have opted for biometric verification for patients. This new technology promises not only to reduce overlays and duplicates but also prevent health hacks by eliminating their reliance on information that is easy to steal and can easily identify patients. Biometric authentication eliminates the central database that is considered to be the treasure chest of hackers.

Biometrics and hospitality

Another potential field that could greatly benefit from biometrics is the Hospitality sector. Biometric technology is changing the world, now finding its place in the hospitality sector as well. It is being used for monitoring, identification, and access control. According to a new report, Global Biometrics in Hospitality Sector 2016-2020, the demand for security technologies, including highly reliable and accessible personal authentication and identification systems, has increased. This has been accounted for by the increase in cases of time theft, data theft, and other criminal activities in the hospitality sector.

An analysis of the research predicts the global biometrics market in the hospitality sector to grow exponentially in the coming years. Seen as the most reliable and accurate authentication system in the hospitality sector, it eliminates manual inputs, identity card exchange, and time theft. Biometrics can give real time information about the workers by providing complete and accurate visibility on their reporting and leaving time. Using fingerprinting devices for employee attendance tracking can save hotels an average of 2.2 per cent of gross payroll annually because employees will no longer be able to clock in for their friends. This helps gain insight into the employee’s work and time spent.

Though not yet commonly adopted in the hospitality sector, hotels are predicted to adopt it in the near future, as airlines have adopted it to improve security and the check-in process. The rate of biometrics adoption for the hospitality sector is predicted to increase due to security breach risks. Using biometric identification and verification could greatly enhance customer service, improving the speed and operational efficiency. Furthermore, the customers as well as the operators would be eased of security concerns. Biometric authentication would reduce the threat of fraud.

Afia Amir at Kwick High Tech & Solutions