It’s a familiar case. An unconscious or unknown patient arrives in the ER without any identification leaving clinicians to administer care in the absence of any medical history to review. This presents a serious patient safety risk since treating an unknown patient without the benefit of securing their identity is dangerous and can be a huge liability. What if they are allergic to a certain medication? What if they have a pre-existing condition that must be considered prior to receiving any treatment?
Since these cases are more often trauma related requiring immediate attention, clinicians must take a risk and administer care in the absence of any historical medical data. An obvious threat to patient safety and a situation that clearly raises liability, healthcare organizations have long sought to adopt technology that can instantly identify patients in these cases without the need for any demographic information.
The staff at Novant Health decided to proactively implement an iris biometric identification system throughout their network as a means to secure accurate patient ID and ensure that patients, no matter what the circumstances, are kept safe throughout the care continuum. Although adopting a biometric patient identification system to identify unconscious or unknown patients wasn’t the sole reason that Novant implemented this technology, they knew that by choosing to use iris recognition as their primary biometric modality they would be able to quickly and accurately identify any patient in these circumstances without having to ask for an additional identification credentials (e.g. – D.O.B.).
Novant’s iris biometric patient identification system was recently put to the test when a disoriented, unknown patient arrived in the ER without any identification credentials. Novant staff quickly realized that they could take the patient’s photo with a RightPatient iris camera and if they had been previously registered in their Epic EHR database, the biometric patient identification system would recognize them and immediately pull up their medical record. Fortunately, the patient had previously been enrolled with the RightPatient system and their identity was instantly recognized after their photo was taken with the iris camera. A big relief to Novant staff since they were now able to not only access her medical history prior to treatment, but they were also able to quickly contact the patient’s relatives to inform them of the situation.
A link to the Novant article detailing the experience of using iris biometrics to identify an unknown patient can be found here.
Thank you to our partners at Novant Health for sharing this story and demonstrating the value of using biometrics for patient identification in the context of keeping patients as safe as possible throughout the care continuum!
How often do you experience situations where patients arrive at your facility without identification credentials? Did you know that not all biometric patient identification solutions have the ability to identify unknown or unconscious patients?