This start-up figured out a way to unlock a medical record with Apple's Face ID

Key Points
  • DrChrono, maker of an iPad-based medical record, figured out a way to open up a medical record using Face ID.
  • That saves doctors a lot of time logging into the system with a username and password or passcode, the company says.
Daniel Kivatinos, Drchrono

Drchrono, maker of an iPad-based electronic medical record, says it is the first third-party app to open up a medical record using Apple's Face ID.

Starting Monday, iPhone X users can download the company's app and simply look at the device to login. That's a much faster alternative to typing in a username and password, or a passcode, the company said, which might be a big benefit to time-crunched doctors.

Apple's new Face ID technology is intended for consumers, but Drchrono sees big potential in industries like health care.

Many doctors spend up to an hour a day logging in their medical record system, as it's often required for security reasons each time they leave and re-enter the room. Studies have found that doctors are spending about half their time on computers, rather than seeing patients -- and that's a major source of burnout.

"The barrier for login is super high for health care," said Drchrono's co-founder and COO Daniel Kivatinos.

"It can take a while when the doctor is on the phone with a patient, which is frustrating," he said. "And what if there's an emergency?"

The company claims that 100,000 U.S. doctors have registered to use its service. That represents about 1 in 10 U.S. physicians, although most of them use the freemium version of the product. Its customers all use the service in outpatient settings, which includes primary care and plastic surgery. These doctors cover some 10 million patients in the U.S., the company said.

Hospitals have experimented with a variety of ways to make it easier to login into a medical record. Many have used Apple's TouchID as a faster alternative to typing in a passcode.

But it's still early days for Face ID, which is a new form of biometric security that most consumers haven't encountered before. A recent survey suggested that 40 percent of consumers wouldn't yet trust biometrics. Moreover, medical records are a particularly sensitive class of data, which means hospitals might move slowly to adopt new technology.

For its part, Apple responded to a list of questions from Senator Al Franken about how Apple would store the data and distinguish an individual's face from a mask (or from a person under general anesthesia, for instance). The company stressed that Face ID facial biometrics are encrypted, and it confirms attention by "directing the direction of your gaze."

Here's a video showing the feature in action:

This start-up figured out a way to unlock a medical record with Apple's Face ID
This start-up figured out a way to unlock a medical record with Apple's Face ID