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Palm-vein biometrics helps Carolinas HealthCare improve patient safety


According to a report in Healthcare IT News, Carolinas HealthCare System has helped bolster its patient safety initiatives and reduce its duplicate medical records error rate from 2.9 percent to 0.01 percent using ID and authentication technology by Imprivata.

“We were looking at it to uniquely identify patients, especially in an electronic health records environment, where problems with duplication of medical records, error rates, incorrectly combining records, and finding a perfect patient match get accentuated,” said CIO Craig Richardville. “In a manual world, you can pull information out and combine records fairly easily. In an electronic world, incorrect data potentially can get integrated.”

Carolinas selected Imprivata’s palm-vein biometrics to complement its enterprise master patient index. On admission to any facility, the patient places his or her hand on the palm-vein scanner to identify the unique vein pattern underneath the skin and assigns that pattern an algorithm and unique identification number within the enterprise master patient index, linking registrars and caregivers at any facilty to that patient’s proper and complete records.

Richardville said that 97 percent of patients have accepted the technology and agreed to palm-vein scans.

“We still have 3 percent or so who do not want to use it, which may be over privacy concerns, a religious concern having to do with the palm, or a lack of understanding of this one additional thing we’re looking to capture from them,” he explained.

Richardville added that the biometrics technology has also helped identify unconscious trauma patients in emergency rooms and has helped the health system avoid some cases of insurance fraud.

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