Fingerprint identification is a method of personal identification using the ridge patterns found on the fingertips. As a matter of fact, ridge patterns vary person to person and no two individuals can have same ridge formations or patterns. Also, throughout life a person carries the same set of ridge patterns on his/her fingertips. This means of personal identification has been in use since 19th century as it offers reliable means of personal recognition. Today, this method of personal identification is used in various sectors owing to its infallible means of personal identification. Fingerprint identification is accomplished by either automated methods or non-automated methods for authentication. The modern approach for use of this technology involves use of fingerprint readers working on optical, thermal, silicon or ultrasonic principles. Such readers consist of fingerprint sensors and algorithms. Fingerprint sensors capture a digital image of the fingerprint pattern and digitally process this scan to produce a biometric template which is stored and used for future matching and identification. The stored algorithms compare previously stored database of fingerprints against fingerprints of the candidate for authentication.
Application of fingerprint recognition technology is easy and relatively cheap. The use of fingerprint identification in healthcare eliminates the risk of duplicate insurance claims or test request by discriminating between same identities with different names. The technique verifies user’s identity before initiating a particular transaction and thus also eliminates the need for pin or passwords. However, certain drawbacks associated with the use of this technology include rejection of scans due to scars, calluses, cracks, dirt or overlong fingernails and a less effective system for application in children below 15 years of age. Fingerprint identification technology has major applications in physical and logical access control, time and attendance and document encryption purposes.
The market for fingerprint identification in healthcare has been broadly segmented as automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) and non-automated fingerprint identification (non-AFIS) systems. Automated fingerprint identification allows automatic matching of one or many unknown fingerprints against an already stored database. Such type of verification and identification systems are generally used in access control and attendance systems. AFIS systems can be used to identify patients and providers from databases of tens to hundreds of thousands of fingerprints. Automated fingerprint identification systems have been used extensively in recent years due to availability of customized AFIS applications, rising acceptance of e-projects and escalating demand for more integrated security solutions from the healthcare sector. Non-AFIS fingerprint biometrics is a mature and well established technology due to on-going industrial research and developments. These systems are designed with relatively simple and user-friendly interfaces and are more affordable. Such solutions tend to scan fewer fingers for authentication and provide additional flexibility of enrolling multiple fingers. Growing demand for non-AFIS fingerprint biometric technologies are expected to be vital for physical access control systems due to increased demand and thus estimated to generate high growth rates by extensive adoption of such systems in the near future.
Globally, North America is the leading market for fingerprint identification in healthcare, followed by Europe. The implementation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the U.S. is one of the key factors that have been instrumental in driving the market growth in the North American region. The market will witness upsurge in Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW) regions due to increasing governmental initiatives for controlling fraud and providing safety in their respective countries. Increasing adoption in private sectors will also play a key role in driving the market growth. 3M Cogent, Inc., BIO-key International, Inc., DigitalPersona, Inc., Lumidigm, Inc. and Siemens AG are some major players actively participating in this market.
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