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New iPhone fingerprint scanner would provide easy access for doctors

The iPhone 5s comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner for user authentication, which presents some intriguing use cases for physicians.

Security is always a key component to consider when granting mobile devices access to health information. With enforcement of the HIPAA omnibus rule in effect as of September 23, there are now even more reasons to ensure that protected health data does not fall into the wrong hands.

The iPhone fingerprint scanner on the most recent iPhone release is a feature that has drawn considerable attention from the healthcare field. While this identification method comes equipped on the iPhone 5s, it is critical to note that it is not yet available to developers or apps. Apple Inc. has implemented this technology to protect the device and its data.

There are many use cases for this technology in healthcare. Providers can quickly authenticate themselves when signing notes, prescribing schedule II narcotics or simply signing on to a secure network. These use cases will only be realized if and when Apple decides third-party app developers can design programs to be used with their hardware.

Unfortunately, there are already security concerns surrounding Apple's fingerprint scanner. Germany's Chaos Computer Club, an association of hackers, released a video showing how they were able to bypass the fingerprint authentication through reproducing or copying the fingerprint of the device's owner.

Fingerprint identification systems are secure enough for most use cases, but they are not the best solutions available on the market. Their size, smartphones and other mobile devices don't always allow large hardware to be installed in them.

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email editor@searchhealthit.com or contact@SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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