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EHR Provider Touts mHealth Access by Apple’s Facial Recognition App

drchrono is reportedly the first company to enable EHR access on mobile devices through Apple's new Face ID app.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- The developer of an mHealth-based electronic health record platform has reportedly become the first to enable EHR access by facial recognition.

Drchrono announced this week that its EHR can now be opened through Apple’s new Face ID application on the iPhone X, enabling providers to simply look at their mobile device to gain access.

“We are committed to staying on top of breakthrough technology innovation and iPhone X is just that,” Daniel Kivatinos, the California-based company’s co-founder and COO, said in a Nov. 9 press release. “Enabling Face ID and making login easier will help both physicians and patients.”

“In a given day, having a physician logging into an EHR over and over again wastes time, time that can be spent with a patient; Face ID makes login frictionless.”

Apple’s newest technology is the latest in a string of mHealth tools seeking to reduce the time spent by clinicians logging into and out of clinical platforms while ensuring the privacy and security of those platforms. Aside from tried-and-true-though-slow-and-cumbersome passwords, health systems have used touch authentication, RFID tags, pendants or badges that a user taps or swipes over a mobile device to gain access.

More recently, mHealth developers have been experimenting with apps that can unlock devices through voice recognition or even behaviors.

Drchrono’s newest service targets a particular pain point in healthcare: the time spent by a doctor or nurse in front of a mobile device or computer screen. A Health Affairs study this past April found that doctors spend roughly as much time in front of a screen as they do in front of a patient. This contributes to low patient engagement rates, reduced patient satisfaction and even physician stress and burnout.

Whether a facial recognition app solves this problem remains to be seen. A survey released just last week by global payments provider Paysafe found that 40 percent of consumers feel biometric security solutions like Face ID aren’t reliable. Expect that percentage to be much higher in healthcare.

That doesn’t mean facial recognition will go away any time soon.

"While we don't expect biometric adoption to happen overnight, the proliferation of biometric technologies in consumer devices such as the Apple iPhone will result in consumers becoming more familiar and comfortable with the technology," Ollie Haylor, business development director for PalmSecure Biometrics at Fujitsu Cyber Security & Enterprise, told CNBC. "As such, biometric verification of identity on a personal device will, in one way or another, become a standard identification process."

Facial recognition apps have been around for a few years in healthcare as well, through the technology is still in its early stages. Most use cases have centered around behavioral health.

Roughly a year ago, Victoria Hospital in Fife, Scotland, used a specialized camera and software platform developed at the University of St. Andrews to measure a patient’s blood rate and pulse oxygen levels through facial recognition.

 

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