Apple Pay’s play in healthcare

October 15, 2014 in Medical Technology

While it’s clear how Apple’s HealthKit and the newest smartphones will play in the healthcare realm, Apple Pay, which the company is rumored to be preparing for a debut when it announces new iPads this week, could actually have an impact there as well.

Likewise with Google Wallet, the search giant’s mobile payment system. Samsung, meanwhile, partnered with PayPal earlier this year to inject mobile payment capabilities into its Galaxy phones.

Here’s the reasoning: If Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Samsung’s PayPal wares take hold in other industries, healthcare will need and ultimately be forced to embrace that sort of security, too.

[See also: Apple strides into healthcare.]

“From the perspective of the security community, we need Apple Pay to succeed if we want the payment model to change,” said Elliott Frantz, founder and CEO of Virtue Security. “Once the payment model changes, it may also pave the way for all electronic access, even medical records and other health data.”

And if a Morgan Stanley report is any indication Apple Pay promises to gain purchase in the mobile payment realm.

“By reducing fraud, improving data security, and increasing credit/debit volumes for issuers and networks, while protecting the value of the existing payments value chain, we believe Apple Pay has a high chance of success,” Morgan Stanley said in the report, “Mobile Payments Blue Paper Revisit: Apple Pay in Focus.”

The report cites Apple’s mobile devices as a key security enabler, based on its hardware.

“Renewed focus on security following high-profile data breaches (primarily in the US) and the incorporation of a Secure Element into iPhone 6 lead us to think that mobile payments authentication is likely to be hardware-based,” Morgan Stanley said in the report.

[See also: Cerner, athenahealth to work with Apple.]

Don Bloodworth, CFO of Tyfone, a mobile security and financial services technology solutions provider agreed, adding that the hardware focus for mobile security will spread across industries — including healthcare.

“If hardware-enabled security is necessary for the payments industry, it is our belief that all industries will need security that is at least as strong,” Bloodworth said. “Data privacy in most industries beyond payments requires security that will be enabled by the use of hardware and not just software or cloud.”

Whether hardware or software, technologies in the mobile payment realm, it’s worth noting, are nascent. Google opened its Wallet in September 2011 but the service has been slow to catch on, while Apple Pay may or perhaps may not emerge this week. And in addition to its deal with PayPal for phones, Samsung just last month extended that arrangement to arm its next generation of smartwatches with mobile payment functionality. 

Virtue Security’s Frantz explained that the way things stand today we don’t really know how secure the inner workings of these technologies are. 

“Even though many technologies are secure in design,” Frantz said, “they sometimes can collapse as a result of bugs in implementation and programming. For this, only time will tell.”

This article first appeared on Healthcare IT News‘ sister publication, mHealth News.

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