Near-Field Communication based-model for health information portability
Onyancha, Paul Morumbwa
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Health Information Portability is an important concept in the healthcare sector because of the patient’s ability to carry their medical data when visiting a health care center. Data that can be stored in hitherto time-honored systems such as Health Information Systems and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems is diverse and hence a need for a focused approach on the data to be stored and retrieved securely when needed. Empirical evidence shows a lack of clear technological solution for Health Information Portability in the era of efficiency of mobile devices accessing stored EMRs. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology presents a new dimension for enterprises such that with NFC tags, any object can be turned into a digital data point that can transfer information to NFC-enabled mobile devices using short range radio waves. In this research, agile development methodology was used and different systems, models and prototypes incorporating NFC tags, NFC readers, mobile application, encryption and decryption studied and their beneficial aspects borrowed to create a novel application that runs on the doctor’s NFC-enabled phone that can read and write into a patient’s NFC-enabled medical card. Security features such as password, decryption and encryption of data on the NFC card and the vital EMR data necessary as per doctor’s recommendations, which included patient’s name, allergies and blood group, were incorporated. A model developed showing communication from a host PC and a mobile phone client demonstrated the machine-to-machine communication NFC concept. Authentication, data capture and deploy, data view and edit, mobile to host PC connection were tested and all showed a pass. This system will help reduce incidences of duplication of medical tests leading to reduction in medical costs for patients, assist doctors in making quick clinical decisions and also form the basis for future research on NFC in healthcare.