Discover more from Thoughts From a Healthcare CIO
Is Apple Stepping Into The Digital Identity Game?
Apple announces first states signed up to adopt driver’s licenses and state IDs in Apple Wallet. Does this mean something bigger like digital identity.
Apple is now in the digital identity game, with their latest release of seamlessly and securely add their driver's license or state ID to Wallet on their iPhone and Apple Watch. Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to introduce this innovation to their residents, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will enable select airport security checkpoints and lanes in participating airports as the first locations customers can use their driver's license or state ID in Wallet.
This is a huge step for Apple as a gateway into the digital identity space. Does this mean that the Apple wallet is your digital identity in the future? In Australia, users can add their digital health insurance cards to the Apple Wallet with the Health Industry Claims and Payments Service app.
The difference in Australia vs. adding your insurance card in the US is that Australians can process their healthcare claim using the iPhone or the Watch, similar to using Apple pay as a credit card.
Potential Healthcare Use Cases In The US
Digital identity is a step forward towards creating a unique identifier. We are struggling with creating a unique patient ID, and this is one step towards that. When I was traveling and working internationally, I realized that my phone number was a unique identifier for many transaction services where it almost felt like my identity is my phone number. Think about when was the last time that you had changed your cell phone number.
We need to create a universal patient identifier that can be used across healthcare systems. This is not limited to EHR but also includes other workflow applications like scheduling, referrals, ordering medications, and much more. I predict that Apple will play an essential role in securing the digital health ecosystem by enforcing proper user authentication through apple wallet, similar to how they are doing with their credit card solution. Every time you open your medical record or medication order, it should force apple wallet as part of the HIPAA compliance process.
iPhone should come with a built-in MFA solution as part of the wallet. We have seen other big tech companies like Google and Microsoft with their authenticator app.
I believe Apple will use apple wallet as part of their two-factor authentication solution. I also predict that we see Apple becoming a leader in the mobile MFA space and could potentially bring an entirely new generation into using apple products for many services which require robust identity verification like financial transactions, healthcare applications, and much more.
The other benefit is that you can secure your accounts through this type of system, so only those with access to your Apple device or Watch can log in to these websites without having another password or text sent to them. Apple has been slowly creeping into the password manager space with the advances in keychain.
Vaccine Passports will be the future, and Apple can extend their wallet to hold not only our patient medical records but also include the vaccine passport. Imagine your iPhone or Apple watch acting as a digital vaccine passport.
Apple could become the "healthcare ios" of choice by leveraging its existing infrastructure, including keychain and apple ID account management capabilities. If you think back, there was no reason why Apple couldn't play such a significant role since they have the ecosystem already.
Now all of these concepts are easy to write about, but healthcare is a harsh industry to crack, and Apple would have done these things a long time ago if they want to tackle the healthcare industry head-on. Let's see if any of these predictions come to life in the future.