Healthcare applications for ‘soft camera’ technology that provides a keystroke-by-keystroke replay of actions performed on a file or record are being explored by developers, Citrix.

Citrix CEO, Mark Templeton, speaking at a briefing during the company’s annual iForum in Edinburgh, said the technology, called IRIS, could for example, be used to record anyone changing the parameters in a patient record.

“It captures semantic information along with the recording in a way that can be searched forensically,” he said.

The technology is already in use the company’s online GoToAssist service which offers online computer help. A subscriber can opt to hand over control of his or her desktop to the remote technical assistance service and IRIS keeps a record of the intervention. This is then is available for replay in the event of a complaint or query.

Brett Caine, Citrix Online president, gave the example of one of his largest customers calling to say they believed a virus has been introduced during a GoToAssist session. “We were able to record the session and replay it back over the internet showing everything the agent did. At the end of the session [which showed no action that could have introduced a virus] the customer said, ‘I’m sorry. Thank you for doing that.”

The company is looking at applications for IRIS in a variety of sectors, including healthcare, and exploring uses such as fraud detection.

“These are common issues we see in many industries,” said Caine.

The technology is compliant with US health information privacy law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In other parts of the world it would need to be configured to comply with local privacy laws and deliver appropriate warnings to users about recording their actions.