Many people I read were disappointed by the latest announcements coming out of Apple and particularly with their new “inexpensive” iPhone. It turns out it’s not that inexpensive and seems to show a lack of understanding on Apple’s part of the inexpensive smart phone market. This tidbit aside, I was quite interested in the announcement of the iPhone fingerprint recognition that’s built into the “home” button on the iPhone. Here’s a description of this feature from the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine:
With the introduction of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition, there is no longer an excuse not to have a “passcode” (this time in the form of a fingerprint) on your smartphone. The new Apple iPhone 5S has a fingerprint recognition module built into the “home” button on the iPhone. After registering your finger print, simply touching the home screen button will unlock the device for you seamlessly. Should the phone be lost, without your fingerprint, the contents of the device will be secure.
I recently discussed in detail various possible options for biometrics in healthcare. The smartphone is another place where we’re likely to see more and more biometric integration. As is discussed in the comments of that post, there are still security challenges with biometrics, but I still believe that overall it’s more secure.
In healthcare we still have that thing called 2 factor authentication. However, this integrated fingerprint recognition on the iPhone home screen sure makes one factor of the authentication quite easy. Of course, this assumes that in fact the iPhone fingerprint recognition works well. I hope and expect that it will work well, but you never know until the device hits the market.
Apple hasn’t yet made the fingerprint recognition feature available to other iPhone applications, but I expect they’ll make that happen sooner rather than later. I’m sure many in healthcare will utilize that feature in their applications.