NYU's Langone Medical Center is getting a jump on that whole 21st-century medical care thing by ditching the clipboards and paperwork for palm scans and digital databases. On June 5th the hospital threw the switch on an electronic patient-tracking program from Epic Systems and paired it with biometric identification technology from PatientSecure, which scans the veins in persons hands using near-infrared light. Instead of being forced to fill out forms with your insurance info and social security number every time you visit, you simply place your hand on a scanner and -- ta-da! -- your records come right up. By combining the vasculature scans (which are even more unique than fingerprints) with patient photos, NYU should be able to minimize misidentification and cut down on duplicate records. Rather than go out on some cheesy pun about palm reading, we'll leave the predictable word play to the folks at ABC news -- check out their coverage after the break alongside PR from the Langone Medical Center.
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Patient Identification "In The Palm of Your Hand"
NYU Langone First Hospital in Northeast to Use Near Infrared Palm Scanning Technology to Identify Patients
June 14, 2011 - 10:00am
Helps Ensure the Right Care for the Right Patient, Prevent Medical Identity Theft
and Reduce Administrative Hassles
NYU Langone Medical Center announced today that it is the first medical center in the Northeast to use PatientSecure™ – a cutting-edge biometric technology – to identify patients. Utilizing near infrared light to map an image of the blood-flow pattern through the veins in a person's palm, the digital palm image is converted into a unique patient identifier that interfaces with the medical center's electronic health record system.
"Vein patterns are 100 times more unique than fingerprints," said Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, senior vice president and vice dean, chief of hospital operations at NYU Langone. "As a result, PatientSecure provides a safe, secure, easy and fast way for our patients to register for care at the medical center. It not only protects privacy and enhances quality, but will transform the patient experience."
The advanced technology of PatientSecure helps to ensure each patient is correctly "linked" to the right medical record, a task which is not always as straightforward as it sounds. For example, at the medical center alone, two or more patients share the same first and last names more than 125,000 times. As a result, with PatientSecure a patient simply places his or her hand on a small black box and their unique identifying palm portrait automatically registers them and accesses his or her electronic health record, reducing the chances of misidentification and minimizing the need to present other identifying information after initial enrollment, such as a driver's license or Social Security number.
Streamlining the traditionally cumbersome registration process also helps enhance the overall patient experience from the moment the patient walks in the door and provides added protection from medical identity theft because patients no longer need to share personal identifying information.
NYU Langone piloted the palm scanning technology last month at their Internal Medicine Associates faculty group practice. Following the recent hospital implementation More than 5,000 patients embraced PatientSecure last week alone, and the numbers continue to rise.
"This technology makes you feel like a VIP. You just put your palm on the scanner and you're done registering at your doctor's office, no clipboard, no hassle of paperwork to check in, plus, it's absolutely secure," said Michael Baldwin, 55, a patient at NYU Langone. "It's immediate and instantaneous. Never in my life have I experienced health care like this before. NYU Langone's100 percent integrated healthcare system is like a small city that's all connected."
In addition, if a patient without identification arrives at the medical center unconscious or unable to communicate, PatientSecure can be a lifesaving tool that quickly identifies the individual, opens his or her electronic health record and alerts medical professionals to crucial information, including medical history, allergies and current medications.
Registration using PatientSecure is now available for inpatient registration at the medical centers three hospitals – Tisch Hospital, the Hospital for Joint Diseases and the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. It is also available for outpatient services at the medical center, including radiology and lab tests, as well as at a growing number of physician offices affiliated with NYU Langone. There is no cost to patients to participate in PatientSecure.