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Role of Biometrics in Healthcare Privacy and Security Management System

Author(s): Goverdhan Das Mogli

Journal: Sri Lanka Journal of Bio-Medical Informatics
ISSN 2012-6077

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 156;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: unauthorised access | identification system | biological data | physiological biometric | privacy and confidentiality

IntroductionHealthcare system which is in the process of transformation to provide swift, safe and improved quality care is experiencing multifarious problems. In the process, the computer network is playing a very vital role and its implementation has contributed enormously but there are problems too, eg. passwords that are meant to protect computer network systems from unauthorised use which however may also provide a false sense of security. Some use easily guessed passwords, thus facilitating unauthorised access. Patient records are vital for patient care, but incomplete health records or misplaced information or mix ups with another patient’s record can result in wrong medication. In addition, if the records are in the wrong person’s hand, it can lead to a great hazard to a patient’s health.Why Biometric?Biometric identification systems employ the use of biological data, in the form, of voice, face and signature scans. The most common physiological biometric include finger-scan, retina scan, hand-scan, and iris-scan. Biometric identification cannot be forgotten or stolen and involves the use of IT to acquire, analyse, store, manage and transmit genetic data. Since April 2009, in the US, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require physicians and healthcare professionals who use Electronic Health Record (EHR) track to be tracked every time a patient's record is accessed. Generally, one could digitally authenticate a user with any of these authentication methods: “what you know, what you have, what you are or who we are” refer to what is unique about us, our physical bodies as human beings. Things like fingerprints, retinal design, facial shape, vocal wave, hand geometry and in the future, DNA. Authentication is referred to as 1:1 (one-to-one) matching.Ethics in health informaticsBiomedical ethics address issues such as privacy and confidentiality, conflicts of interest, harm to patients and the nature of the relationships between the physician and the patient which need to be balanced between potential harm and benefits of use of IT.Bioterrorism and Public HealthBiometrics is very helpful in two ways. Firstly, the biometric identification of terrorists can be distributed electronically to all potential risk areas within and outside the nation for preventive purposes. Secondly, it can help in detecting the disease and if effective, would substantially reduce the mortality and morbidity with the early warning system detection of surreptitious biological attacks.ConclusionBiometrics play a very vital role in not only in maintaining privacy and security of healthcare management system but also in bioterrorism and public health activities in notifying infectious diseases and controlling mortality and morbidity rates by linking with curative medical facilities.

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