March 16, 2021
The post-pandemic world requires new and different technologies to help us safely resume doing the things we love. Digital health passports (sometimes called vaccine passports or COVID-19 immunity passports) are a new type of technology that does just that.
Digital health passports are apps that consumers can download and use to present proof of vaccination status or COVID-19 negative test status in order to access air travel, sporting events, office buildings, concert venues, restaurants, and other events and locations.
Health passports seem like a no-brainer and a smart way to resume some of the activities we love. Speaking with CNBC, Mike Tansey, who leads Accenture’s APAC travel and hospitality division and has been working with some major airlines on their digital health pass strategies, said that such strategies have “accelerated” since the vaccine rollout and the need for such passes is clear.
Support and innovation around digital health passports have been booming, with organizations such as CLEAR, The Commons Project, and Good Health Pass developing new digital health pass apps. However, in order for health passports to work properly, there are two challenges that must be addressed.
1. Data Privacy & Security
Just as with any system that processes or retrieves Protected Health Information (PHI), the highest data privacy standards must be in place for people to feel comfortable using it. Stringent security must also ensure that PHI does not fall into the wrong hands. For this to happen, ID proofing of the consumer must occur at the time they enroll with the health passport, and multi-factor authentication or another form of identity authentication is needed on an ongoing basis to ensure a safe connection.
2. Interoperability and Ease of Use
People’s health records tend to be scattered across multiple health systems, from doctor’s offices to hospital records to insurance plans. In order for health passports to work and be scalable, they need to securely and seamlessly retrieve PHI (lab results, vaccination records, etc.) from certified sources and be easily managed and shared with airlines, event venues, restaurants, offices, schools, and more.
To see adoption, health passports must also be “seamless,” meaning they need to allow consumers to access their data from certified sources without the consumer having to remember usernames and passwords for various provider, lab, and health system portals. The entire experience must be as easy and frictionless as possible for mass adoption to take place.
Phone-Centric Identity™ refers to technology that leverages and analyzes mobile, telecom, and other signals for identity verification, identity authentication, and fraud prevention. Phone-Centric Identity™ relies on billions of signals from authoritative sources pulled in real time, making it a powerful proxy for digital identity and trust. If you think about how many people have mobile phones, how long they have had them, and how often they use them, it’s clear why Phone-Centric Identity™ signals are highly correlated with identity and trustworthiness.
As more digital health passport initiatives begin to pop up, consumers will compare and contrast them using the criteria given above. The health passports that invest in technology that strengthens and differentiates them in these areas will see more adoption simply because consumers want easy-to-use, secure, and private apps.
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