NHS England and NHS Improvement have started issuing digital ID cards with help from Yoti. The new cards allow NHS employees to store their NHS ID on their smartphone.
The digital IDs are being introduced in an effort to streamline onboarding and identification processes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The contactless app allows employees to share their NHS credentials without handing over a physical ID, making it easier (and safer) to confirm their identity when arriving at a new hospital or meeting with new co-workers and patients. As a result, the digital IDs will allow the organization to deploy essential workers more effectively.
The digital IDs also offer better privacy and security than more traditional identity alternatives. The information on the IDs is guarded with a five-digit PIN and the user’s biometrics, and Yoti cannot sell or share anyone’s data without the explicit consent of the individual user. Users can determine exactly what information gets shared during an identity check, and they will receive a receipt every time such a check is conducted.
However, users cannot edit the information associated with their digital ID. The IDs are issued by the NHS, which retains the ability to update and revoke the credentials if necessary.
The app can verify someone’s identity online and in person with a QR scan, and it is expected to have ongoing utility once the coronavirus threat has passed. Each ID includes a name and a color photo, in addition to more specific information like job title, Electronic Service Record (ESR), and verified NHS email address.
“Helping society is core to our principles and we want to do whatever we can to help those impacted by COVID-19,” said Yoti CEO Robin Tombs. “Providing staff with an NHS digital ID Card using the Yoti platform will save the NHS time and money, while ensuring privacy and security.”
The NHS app arrives mere weeks after Yoti promised to provide free identity verification services for public health organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Yoti has since highlighted the public health benefits of contactless IDs, which carry a lower risk of transmission than physical ID cards that have to be verified manually.
Yoti is one of several organizations that has offered free services to essential workers in the past few weeks. For instance, Nuance has released a free COVID-19 template to facilitate the creation of accurate patient records.