accurate biometric patient identification helps improve patient data integrity.

Uniting Accurate Patient Identification with Secure Single Sign-On (SSO) to Improve Data Integrity in Healthcare

accurate biometric patient identification helps improve patient data integrity.

Today we announced a new strategic alliance with Healthcast, Inc. to bring biometric patient ID and single sign-on (SSO) technology to healthcare.

One of the biggest obstacles facing the healthcare industry is ensuring high levels of patient data integrity. As computerization of health information continues and the scope of health information organizational exchange expands into health information exchanges (HIEs), and integrated delivery networks (IDNs), maintaining the integrity and completeness of health data is paramount yet much more complicated and challenging. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) recently stated that:

“The overarching goal of HIEs is to allow authorized users to quickly and accurately exchange health information to enhance patient safety and improve efficiency. Achieving this goal is dependent on the ability to link (match) multiple, disparate records relating to a single individual.” (Insuring Data Integrity in Health Data Exchange, AHIMA Resources, 2012)

Achieving high levels of patient data integrity in healthcare is largely contingent upon establishing accurate patient identification — a complex process due to the absence of any standardized patient identification credentials and a lack of consistency on how patient identification information is collected. Implementing a secure patient identification system should be the precursor to any patient data integrity improvement strategy, one that has the ubiquity for use at ANY patient touchpoint (e.g. portals, mHealth, and kiosks) and has the power to prevent duplicate medical records and fraud which can quickly poison an electronic health record database and create a host of “dirty data.”

Coupled with the importance of deploying a modern patient identification system is the urgency to establish stricter single sign-on (SSO) security protocols for access to personal health information (PHI) from clinicians or any staff authorized to view this data. Healthcare data breaches continue to pose a tremendous strain on the industry, recently highlighted in The Ponemon Institute’s 2015 2nd Annual Data Breach forecast which states:

Healthcare organizations face the challenge of securing a significant amount of sensitive information stored on their network, which combined with the value of a medical identity string makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals.” (2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, The Ponemon Institute, 2015)

A logical first step for any healthcare provider is to implement stronger SSO technology to simplify and secure access to PHI that helps deter fraud, prevent duplicate medical records, and increase operational efficiencies.

In an effort to help introduce and increase adoption of arguably the two most important components that will improve patient data integrity for any healthcare organization, today we announced a new strategic alliance with Healthcast — joining forces to offer our best-of-breed biometric patient identification solution with their #1 ranked single sign-on solution (KLAS, 2014) to increase patient safety and secure access to patient data.

Read more about the news here

using biometric patient identification to identify unconscious patients

Identify Unconscious, Unknown Patients with Biometric Identification Technology

using biometric patient identification to identify unconscious patients

Did you know that not all biometric patient identification technologies have the ability to identify unconscious, unknown patients?

Unconscious, unknown patients pose a serious threat to patient safety

It’s 4:00 am and things are quiet in the ER. Patient traffic has slowed to a trickle, clinicians are busy treating existing patients and support staff are completing paperwork and administrative tasks during the down time. Suddenly, you get a fervent call that paramedics are en route to your facility with an unconscious, unidentified trauma patient, spitting out their vital signs and condition while the clinical staff leaps into action to prepare for their arrival. The ambulance roars into the ED bay with wailing sirens and flickering lights, the ED doors swing open, and the patient is quickly ushered in on a stretcher and into an exam room for immediate treatment.

Dealing with unconscious patients in a hospital environment can be a dangerous event.  Each facility has its own protocol for identifying unknown emergency room patients that usually involves assigning the patient an identification tag with a hospital number or medical record number, but the dangers and risks of treating a patient with no identification rise precipitously in the absence of any formal identification credentials. Unanswered questions about their past medical history is a significant risk and poses a direct threat to patient safety. 

Using biometrics to identify unconscious patients

What if there was a way to identify an unconscious patient and quickly access their medical history prior to treatment? Thanks to the increasing adoption of biometrics for patient identification, many hospitals are now equipped with a way to quickly and accurately identify unconscious patients through a fast biometric scan.

What’s important to know however is that unfortunately, not all biometric patient identification technologies have the ability to identify unconscious, unknown patients contrary to widespread belief that they can.

Why? Biometric patient identification technologies are not all cut from the same mold and while some do indeed contain the ability to identify unconscious patients, back end search capabilities limit others from being able to do so.

What’s often misunderstood about using biometrics for patient identification is how the back end search technology actually determines a patient’s identity. To illustrate, let’s take an 2 examples of patients who walk into two different hospital ED departments – one that uses palm vein biometrics for patient identification and the other that uses iris recognition.

  • Scenario #1 – John Doe steps through the doors of hospital A’s ED department and approaches the registration counter. A patient access coordinator asks the patient for their date of birth and then instructs them to place their hand on a palm vein reader which verifies their identity and then displays the unique medical record that has been linked to their biometric credentials.  This search methodology is referred to as “1:Few segmented identification” which compares a captured biometric template against a portion of the total biometric database. Prior to capturing John Doe’s biometrics, a credential needs to be provided prior to the biometric scan to determine which templates should be compared against. The biometric system would then compare the captured template against only those templates that share the same birth date. 
  • Scenario #2 – Jane Doe arrives at hospital B’s ED and is greeted by the patient access coordinator. Without asking any questions, Jane’s picture is taken with an iris camera that subsequently confirms her identity and pulls up the medical record that has been linked to her biometric credentials. This biometric matching type is referred to as “one-to-many identification” (1:N) which compares Jane’s captured biometric template against all stored templates. No other information is required besides the biometric scan. 

1:N matching does not require patients to provide an identity credential prior to performing a biometric scan which means that if an unknown, unconscious patient arrives at a hospital their identity can be quickly and accurately determined, even if they can’t speak. 

One to many searches are the only way to identify unconscious patients

Now imagine John Doe arriving at hospital A unconscious without any identification. If the hospital is using palm vein biometrics for patient identification, how will John be able to provide his birth date prior to someone placing his hand on the palm vein reader? The answer is that he can’t, rendering the system ineffective for identity verification on unconscious, unidentifiable patients.

If Jane Doe was unconscious and arrived at hospital B who uses iris biometrics for patient identification, clinicians could gently raise her eyelids, take her picture with an iris camera and instantly determine her identity without requiring any additional information.

Understanding the functionality of back end biometric searches can help guide healthcare facilities in the right direction prior to adopting the technology if the identification of unconscious, unknown patients is important. 

Learn more about the advantages of deploying a biometric patient identification system to increase patient safety through the “Resources” section of our Web site.


CIO of hospital provides testimonial of using iris biometrics for patient ID in healthcare

Biometric Patient Identification CIO Testimonial Video

CIO of hospital provides testimonial of using iris biometrics for patient ID in healthcare

Learn more about how our RightPatient biometric patient identification solution can help your healthcare organization through this firsthand testimonial from a hospital CIO.

Like many who attended the 2015 HIMSS trade show in Chicago, we were excited (and a bit overwhelmed) at the amount of health IT knowledge and information swirling around the exhibit halls and aisle/booth conversations between attendees and vendors. One theme that we were excited to see is the continued surge of implementing biometrics for patient identification by many healthcare organizations that understand it’s value to help:

1. eliminate duplicate medical records
2. prevent healthcare fraud and medical identity theft at the point of service
3. Increase patient safety

Ever since the use of biometrics for patient identification arrived on the scene just a few short years ago, many hospitals are now reaping the dividends of this technology to achieve the aforementioned benefits and helping to add revenue back to the bottom line by cutting back on fraud and eliminating medical errors resulting from patient misidentification. The future of implementing biometrics for patient identification is bright, and increasing it’s luminosity as more hospitals and healthcare organizations learn about how the technology works to improve patient data integrity

We took a moment to sit down with the Healthcare Data Management team in their booth on the HIMSS trade show floor to participate in a video interview about our RightPatient® healthcare biometrics patient identification solution to help explain it’s advantages and unique qualities plus provide a firsthand testimonial from a hospital CIO who has implemented our platform using iris recognition. 



The interview includes firsthand testimonial from Lee Powe at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin, NC about how he originally deployed palm vein biometrics for patient ID, but quickly switched to the RightPatient solution using iris biometrics once he saw the advantages plus what results Hugh Chatham has realized since first deploying the technology including: reductions in duplicate medical records, elimination of Medicaid fraud, and a high level of patient acceptance.

Michael Trader from RightPatient is then interviewed to describe the iris biometric patient identification platform, what makes it unique, and why healthcare providers should consider implementation.

Thanks to the staff at Health Data Management for the opportunity to discuss what makes our biometric patient identification solution unique, and allow us to feature Lee’s testimonial on why he values the technology to help increase patient safety and reduce healthcare fraud at Hugh Chatham.