Blockchain and biometrics: The patient ID of the future?

Iris biometric technology could add enhanced security measures to blockchain networks in the healthcare industry.

Patientory Inc. and UK-based IrisGuard partnered to integrate iris biometric technology with healthcare-focused PTOYNet blockchain networks, according to a Friday press release. In the form of a HIPAA-compliant Patientory App, the iris-recognition software will add another layer of secure authorization on the blockchain network, hopefully eliminating healthcare inefficiencies, said the release.

This isn’t the first time blockchain has paired with biometrics for identification purposes. Starting back in 2017, Microsoft and Accenture joined to create a blockchain solution that used biometric data to act as digital identification for refugees. Pharmaceuticals have also considered utilizing blockchain to improve track-and-trace serialization.

IrisGuard’s technology has previously been used by the United Nation Agencies to prevent human trafficking, providing refugees with iris-based registration and e-payment solutions through the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP), the release said.

“Patient identification is a growing problem in today’s healthcare system,” Chrissa McFarlane, CEO and founder of Patientory, Inc., said in the release. “This technology can help providers identify an individual with unparalleled accuracy, through iris-recognition and data matching. And because it’s verified on the blockchain, it’s scalable without sacrificing data security—which is one of the main problems with our current healthcare-data infrastructure.”

Iris recognition can help reduce fraud and abuse that currently plague the pharmaceutical and insurance industries by confirming patients’ identities, according to the release. Using the iris recognition with blockchain will keep data management much more streamlined and efficient.

The technology will first be rolled out in clinical trials this year, the release added.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • IrisGuard and Patientory Inc. partnered to merge iris recognition technology with blockchain networks, improving healthcare security. — Patientory, 2019
  • The union of these technologies will provide a more secure form of identity for patients, and streamline data management solutions. — Patientory, 2019