Linking an incorrect medical record to a patient can be fatal but making sure those records follow the patients is also difficult. To help ease this problem the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Altoona is rolling out palm vein biometrics to strengthen that link.
The program started June 1 and registered more than 4,600 patients in six weeks, says Dr. Linnane Batzel, chief medical officer at UPMC Altoona. The medical center’s staff has been registering patients when the come in for tests and radiology appointments.
When the patients checks in for an appointment the associated asks to register them into the system. The associated asks for name, date of birth, government-issues photo ID, matches that information with the medical record on file and then the device take two scans of the patient’s palm, Batzel explains. “The palm vein scanners makes sure the patient is accurately attached to the correct medical record,” she adds. “It also saves time on return visits, they just have to verify name and date of birth.”
Eventually the system will be more widely deployed throughout the Altoona facilities, moving to outpatient clinic, physician practices and the emergency department, Batzel says. Emergency is where the technology might be able to make a real impact. If a patient comes in unresponsive the scanner can be used to identify them and check for any medical conditions.