Patient Identity and Privacy

When the original concept of the GiveDirect Medical Clinic was formulated, it quickly became evident that patient identity and privacy would be a top priority. As we reflected on our past experiences of distributing basic income to the same remote villages, we knew using cellphones as a means of individual identity wasn’t going to work. as only 10-15% of the adult population have them and then there were the children. We then moved to the idea of NFC chips/wristbands or QR code tokens. However, with the sheer number of people that would be visiting the clinic, we quickly realized the cost of this would be prohibitive, coupled with the rate of lost, damaged or stolen identity tokens. This option too became a no-go. With no address, phone number or existing identification we knew we had to use something that met the following criteria:

  • Everyone naturally had the identification on their person, always
  • It was identifiable unique to every individual on the planet
  • The deployment cost to GiveDirect would have be near free
  • The solution could scale to 1 million people and be recoverable

As the thoughts evolved, we knew the road we were heading down was familiar. The solution would have to use biometrics for individual identifications.

Biometrics are body measurements and calculations related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. 


While we could have chosen solutions based on finger, palm, speech or retina scans we decided in a COVID world, touch-less, language independence and unusual solutions (like scanning someone’s eye) weren’t going to do… Thus, we decided to use a face scan or facial recognition for identification.

Like all biometrics solutions, facial recognition technology measures and matches the unique characteristics for the purposes of identification or authentication. Often leveraging a digital or connected camera, facial recognition software can detect faces in images, quantify their features, and then match them against stored templates in a database.

With the best technical solution chosen for our problem, the only thing left to do was build something, buy something or get something donated. Cue the joyful bells, as this is where Luxand, Inc. stepped on to the field and scored.

Luxand, Inc. is a private hi-tech company formed in 2005. Luxand research activities began with Artificial Intelligence and biometric identification technologies, allowing the company to develop a complete set of tools and libraries to perform fully automatic recognition of human faces and facial features. Today, the company provides a broad range of facial feature recognition solutions.

Luxand, Inc not only scored once, but twice when they offered to provide their valuable FaceSDK license, a 20,000 USD value, to the GiveDirect Medical Clinic project to reduce global suffering for FREE!

FaceSDK enables Microsoft Visual C++, C#, Objective C, Swift, Java, VB, Delphi and Python developers to build 32-bit and 64-bit applications for Web, Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS and Android with face recognition and face-based biometric identification functionality.

Completed GiveDirect Faces App

Luxand then suggested we work with LNG Technology to build the Android phone app using the FaceSDK. LNG was a huge help, as they also provided their services to GiveDirect for free.

This meant we had one-half of the problem solved and it was a big one, identity. Currently, the identity is made up of a face scan and patient number that is stored on the phone in Ghana off-line. All that was left to do was to use the patient number in our Medical Records System (MRS), as the only unique identifier which completely decoupled the patient from the medical records.

The working result follows: The only way in the world to get a patient number is to scan the person’s face with the clinic’s phone in Ghana, else you would just be looking at medical records. This split between the medical records and the actual person allows our team of global medical professionals to review, audit and make recommendations during medical record charting without cognitive, conflicts of interest. statistical or prejudicial biases, resulting in better care and privacy for those we are treating. Scored again!

If you are keeping score, it is 4-0 and the use of facial recognition software enabled GiveDirect to win the game when it comes to identity and privacy in a medical setting. Special hugs to our partners at Luxand and LNG Technology for making a real difference in the world’s suffering. Go Team GiveDirect!

#FollowYourDonation #GD_MedicalClinic #GiveDirect #GiveDirectProject #Philanthropy #Africa #Ghana #Blockchain #facerecognition