News Flash: UK to Streamline Healthcare Authentication

National Health Service plans to invest in biometrics to free up staff time for patient care

The UK government plans to invest £40 million in fingerprint recognition systems and other technology to streamline the computer login processes for the 1.2 million employees of the country’s National Health Service. The government said that NHS staff currently have to use passwords to log in to up to 15 different computer programmes when tending to a patient, with each programme requiring its own login details. 

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is frankly ridiculous how much time our doctors and nurses waste logging on to multiple systems. As I visit hospitals and GP practices around the country, I’ve lost count of the amount of times staff complain about this.” The government said the new funds are intended to support projects similar to that at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, which implemented single sign-on technology and reduced time spent logging into multiple computer systems from 1 minute 45 seconds to just 10 seconds. The hospital calculated that, with almost 5,000 logins a day, the solution saved over 130 hours of staff time each day, enabling a greater focus on patient care

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government is conducting a 30-week study to establish a new National Digital Identity framework, according to a report by Digital News Asia.  “Today, as technology forms an integral part of our lives, the need for a safe, secure and protected National Digital ID platform has become both an essential and attractive proposition,” said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak.   “A National Digital ID serves as a secure and trusted digital credential as well as a platform for authentication that can improve convenience, promote inclusivity, reduce cost of access to services, and enhance service delivery to Malaysians where online transactions are concerned,” Scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2020, the study’s recommendations will be considered by the cabinet for further action.

For more information, see the UK Government press release here and the Digital News Asia report here.