Technology is rapidly changing, and health technology is one aspect of the industry that has experienced massive and ongoing changes in just a few years. We are at the point now where there is more and more acceptance of technology as part of our lives and as part of our healthcare system.
The Government seems to now be fully on board with the types of healthcare technology interventions that the private sector had previously discovered. Still, we do not have enough entrenchment relative to what maintains in the rest of the world though there are some aspects, such as insurance adjudication, in which we remain miles ahead.
We have, however, come a long way with hospital digitisation, evidenced at the University Hospital of the West Indies. The rapid changes and development to the available technology will allow much value to be added to this process through external add-ons. One of which is facial recognition technology. This technology uses a scan of a person’s face to determine their identity. Some cellular phone brands already use this as one of the ways to offer more privacy and security to users.
There are many reasons why technology like this would benefit our healthcare system. The obvious one would be for more efficient check-in of patients, especially those whose electronic medical record (EMR) is already with the facility, and who may have come in unconscious or otherwise unable to go through a lengthier registration process. Accident and emergency units would greatly benefit from having such a kiosk. If a nurse, doctor, or even family member can register a patient this way, immediately on arrival, imagine how much value that would bring to treatment and care. For example, the patient’s medical history would be immediately available for a more accurate treatment plan. Of course, the kiosk can also be used to check out patients if necessary.
Health facilities, if so desired, can also use this technology as a way to ensure that only authorised people enter certain sections of the building for improved security. In addition, this would be a good way to be able to quickly track the number of staff to patients on any given day. Easier analysis of the needs of the facility can be done, when evidenced based information is quickly and easily available, to enable long- and short-term planning as well increase overall efficiency.
Face recognition check-in kiosk can also help in triage. There are apps that can detect certain metrics in individuals that can alert healthcare workers to the type of immediate interventions that may be needed at check-in, regardless of the particular complaint with which the patient presents.
FACIAL RECOGNITION SELF-SERVICE KIOSK
The recent Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, held in April in Chicago, Illinois, had numerous technology providers showcasing their latest technology in health and one which caught my attention was an offering from a company called Certify Health (certifyhealth.com). It was a facial recognition self-service kiosk that allowed patients to check in to a facility in seconds without having to access a desk and a receptionist first.
There are numerous other companies going in this direction. The global facial recognition technology industry is expanding, and healthcare must adapt if we are going to make any significant improvement in patient care and population health.
According to Grand View Research (www.grandviewresearch.com) “the global facial recognition market size was valued at US$3.86 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4 per cent from 2021 to 2028. Technology is improving, evolving, and expanding at an explosive rate.”
We are progressing as a country where health technology is concerned and must keep evolving to ensure that we provide the best treatment and services to our population.
Published: Sunday | May 7, 2023 | 12:38 AM Doug Halsall - Contributor