A Couple Thoughts on Biometrics and EMR

Posted on February 4, 2006 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Biometrics is a great option and I believe will be the future of authentication in the Healthcare field. When you have an EMR authentication is absolutely important since the integrity of your medical record is dependent on people using a individually identifiable login. Everyone knows that passwords and usernames are a major pain. Biometrics is one obvious solution. As I’ve said in previous posts, I really think that one of the keys to biometric success is having it integrated with Active Directory and then having your EMR do an ldap query to authenticate you into your EMR. Good enough overview.

Here’s a few things to consider should you decide to apply biometrics and EMR. First, many(not all) biometrics have a lovely red light. I’m not really sure why, but I assume it is needed to recognize your fingerprint. While this isn’t really a major problem, if you have many kids in your office then they LOVE those little red lights(my son included). There are of course ways around it by placing it in a position that kids can’t see it or securing it appropriately. If you do have kids and biometrics with the red light then you probably want to make sure you have some replacement devices.

Second, you have to find a way to remember your passwords. Most biometrics can remember not just your EMR passwords, but also authenticate you into all of your programs(ie. email, websites, PMS, etc). This is great until you want to log in without your biometrics or get a new computer. You’ll need to know your passwords in these cases to get your biometrics to work again.