Komaki City Hospital

Fingerprint authentication has been introduced to protect patient data reliably.
The system has been operated for many years without any trouble. It has been migrated to the new system and smooth operation has been materialized.

Komaki City Hospital has introduced the electronic health record system in April 2006. Before the introduction of the electronic health record system, paper health records were used with the ordering system, and authentication was not executed at all. Although there was no serious problem at that time, in 2005, we started to a consider new management method in order to strengthen security on that occasion for protecting patients’ data reliably. Since it was the first introduction, we started to check what kinds of systems were available, pick up merits and problems for using the system in hospital and other introduction examples.

In consideration of other examples, we considered secure biometric authentication that can be operated easily.

At that time, most hospitals introducing the same electronic health record system employed the IC card and ID/Password system. However, we realized many problems after investigating their actual use conditions.
As a problem at first, there was a case that many patients have forgotten or lost their cards in one day in a large hospital. Each time, the hospitalis required to issue temporary cards and this operation was very complicated. Furthermore, it is indispensable to update the password periodically, for instance once every three months. But many users used similar passwords as they thought that updating was troublesome, even though reuse of the password was prohibited. There was a case where a hospital displayed IDs and passwords on a wall of the medical office since it might be difficult to remember all of them. After all, considerable human operations management would be required for making every patient manage individual IDs and passwords securely. With this method the relevant operational costs individually. We came to the conclusion that operation of this method was costly、and it would be impossible maintain high security.
The authentication is necessary but we do not want to use any cards. So, the biometric authentication became a candidate. Since vein authentication is considerably expensive among biometric authentication, reasonable fingerprint authentication became the leading candidate.

The decisive factor is the fact that it is highly accurate and capable of logging on software.

For fingerprint authentication systems, we studied the selection of either the pattern matching method or the other methods. Among the various systems, we focused on the frequency analysis method with high accuracy. It was one of the decisive factors for us that the possibility of invasion of privacy was very low since the results of the frequency analysis would be matched with the amount of minutiae unlike the pattern matching system, registering fingerprint image itself.
At the time of study, we compared the system with other products in terms of user management of not only of the hardware but also of the software and the authentication of applications. Most products employ a method that the user will log in to the application with single sign-on after logging into Windows in terms of authentication for logging on Windows and interworking with active directories.
However, since the power of a PC must be turned off once in case of logging in to Windows, it is impossible to operate the system speedily. The electronic health record will be used by three to four persons at the same place. It will be many-to-many in the emergency department in particular, in other words, a single unit will handle health records of many patients and many doctors will use the unit. It will be used multiple time. The system is required to withstand these severe conditions.
Then, we compared systems logging in to Windows automatically as a common user, and capable of managing the user with authentication for programs only. We received from DSS an offer of the system that can be operated with minimum problems. The PC will be provided to each person individually, but it will not be transported and each person can use a unit installed nearby. This was a very important factor.

Birometric authentication recommended by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

It was very hard to register all personnel at the time of introducing “UBF”. Even though the frequency analysis method has shorter processing time without registration rejection in comparison with pattern matching, it took four to five days for registering fingerprints of more than 1000 persons. Since paper health records were used and no authentication was required before that, some personnel felt that the authentication process was troublesome in the beginning. But operation after that has been executed smoothly.
From the administration viewpoint, we are generally satisfied, since there is no IC card and no imperfection, such as ID and password. Eight years have passed from the introduction. It is wonderful that the system has operated without any serious problems.
After all, the biometric authentication has been recommended in the “Guidelines for safety management of medical information systems” provided by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. It was after many years from that Komaki City Hospital introduced the system.

Usability has been improved by transferring to a new system of the hybrid type

In 2012, the version of the terminal has been upgraded to Windows7, and fingerprint authentication has also transferred from UBF-blue currently used to new UBF-neo with “EVE FA”. This is a hybrid type combining the minutiae method and the frequency method. The accuracy has been improved more and its usability has been improved. Both systems are currently operated. We realize that the recognition capability of the new system is quicker and more certain. For women, in particular, there is an impression that it is generally difficult to recognize their fingerprints that may be caused by thinness of their fingerprints. It is told that authentication becomes easier after introducing the new system. In terms of usability, the shape becomes compact, and it is convenient for transferring with a cart. Sliding of fingerprints also becomes easier.
As a result of the fact that the international patent of the installed algorithm for accuracy judgment has been established in the U.S.A., system reliability has also been improved. Within this year, we will introduce Windows 7 for the machines and our fingerprint authentication system will be renewed completely. We think our operation will be smoother after that.

Easy operation management is expected as well as cost performance

We expect that the operation management will be easier.
Since UBF-neo employed this time is a new method, it may be necessary to take fingerprints again due to difference of data accuracy. We expect that both systems can be used after registering fingerprints only one time in future. At the time of introduction eight years ago, we considered about a method of authentication with fingerprints only without ID because it is troublesome. However, it may take more time unless the targets are narrowed using the ID, since the number of targets is numerous. Since it is said that these researches are currently carried out, we are thankful if authentication can be executed with fingerprints only.
Furthermore, while the costs of the license and the hardware are important, products of DDS have fairly high cost performance and are highly appreciated.
Anyway, if this fingerprint authentication can be operated without any problem, it is not necessary to consider vein authentication. We are aware of the benefits of fingerprint authentication, further improvement of their cost performance and compact shapes are expected.


Name of municipality
Komaki City Hospital
1-20, Jobushi, Komaki-shi
It has been established in 1963. It is a municipal medical institution in Komaki City, Aichi Prefecture. It is the only tertiary emergency hospital with the critical care center in Owari North Medical region, and supports Nagoya Airport. As a base hospital of the cancer cooperation, the hospital has a cancer counseling and support office, and a palliative care unit. In 2012, the hospital has been certified to “DPC medical institute group II” as a high-order function hospital second to the university hospital main hospital, makes efforts to provide 1advanced high quality healthcare.

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