Bulgaria mandates fingerprint registration at hospitals, system crashes on third day

The Ministry of Health in the nation of Bulgaria has announced that all hospitals receiving federal funds must register patients with biometric devices, but the launch of the program is already off to a rocky start.

Under the new rule, any hospital that utilizes the National Health Insurance Fund will need to register patients via their fingerprint, according to Biometrics Planet. The implementation of the system comes after a pilot run began at Bulgaria’s 20 largest hospitals in August.

But now, all 369 hospitals under the National Health Insurance Fund will need to participate. All are said to have signed the necessary agreements, which aim to ensure security and also reduce insurance fraud.

However, on Wednesday — just three days after the system launched — it already crashed, according to The Sofia Globe. Government officials said the system was overloaded with more information than it could process, causing the servers to become unresponsive.

As a backup, hospitals provided access and care to patients by requiring them to show their state-issued identity cards. It was expected that the new fingerprint system would be back online by the end of the day.

Bulgarian officials say that in the first few days of the program, which began on Nov. 1, some 300,000 people had registered their fingerprints for treatment. They claim that fewer than 100 people refused to allow their fingerprint to be scanned. Registration is said to take less than 10 minutes.