mobile credentials in healthcare

With the vast majority of Americans owning a smartphone of some kind (81% and climbing according to Pew Research Center), it’s no surprise that organizations are looking to leverage the convenience of an all-in-one mobile device and its inherently secure authentication capabilities. This ubiquitous use of mobile phones has given rise to the prevalent adoption of mobile credentials by healthcare facilities, especially as hospitals are increasingly rolling out BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategies to streamline patient-staff communications and reduce operating costs. 

Another reason for the uptick in healthcare mobile adoption was due to the implementation of new standards by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS moved from a Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement model based on meaningful use of electronic healthcare records to a value-based care model that reimburses hospitals based on the level of quality, cost-effectiveness, and patient engagement.

The transition toward patient-centered care models and value-based purchasing has prompted hospitals to evaluate next-generation communications platforms.

So what are the benefits of mobile credentials in a hospital setting?


Healthcare workers perform a myriad of tasks (ie: accessing patient records, printing documents, scheduling procedures, etc.), most of which require logging in and out of a computer. With a simple tap of a smartphone, employees can gain access to both online and physical resources.

Visitors and vendors arriving for meetings use electronic links provided by the hospital to download a temporary visitor’s access badge to their mobile device, which is automatically deactivated after the meeting.


A mobile credentialing system is highly customizable. Administrators may set it up to be a frictionless, hands-free solution where the mobile phone can stay in an employee’s pocket or bag when they enter pre-authorized doors. In locations with tightly bunched readers, employees can be required to present their smartphones to a specific reader.

Mobile credential systems eliminate the costs of plastic badges, printers, ink, storage, and handling. Moreover, unlike plastic cards, mobile credentials may be re-used, transferred, and remotely deactivated.


Smartphones add security with pin codes, keystroke recognition, and multimodal biometric authentication, such as fingerprint, facial, and voice ID. They provide a second layer of security with the encrypted wrapper the card payload is placed into. As such, hospital staff can use their smartphones in the cafeteria to access menus, select meals, and submit payment.


Mobile credential adoption may have been accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since individuals can get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces, more organizations are looking for systems that limit human contact with access control and other security systems. 

While a total switch from a card-based access control system to one only using smartphones could be cost-prohibitive for most organizations, the good news is that they don’t have to choose. The solution may be a combination of the two. New hybrid readers support magstripe, proximity, and recent chip-based smart cards, as well as mobile credentials.

As the need for heightened security and concerns over cash flow continue to burden many healthcare facilities during these vulnerable times, mobile credentials are rapidly becoming a mainstream choice for many organizations looking to improve access control.