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Hand Palm Used for Patient Identification

  • Published: 2011-06-16 (Revised/Updated 2012-06-29) : Author: NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Synopsis: PatientSecure uses a cutting edge biometric technology to identify patients by utilizing near infrared light to map an image of the blood flow pattern through veins in the palm.

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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's 100 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.

About NYU Langone Medical Center: NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated, academic medical center, is one on the nation's premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of three hospitals - Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the first rehabilitation hospital in the world; and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the nations dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology - plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousand of physicians and scientists who have helped to share the course of medical history. The medical center's tri-fold mission to serve, teach and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education and research. For more information, go to www.NYULMC.org

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