Hi-Tech Doctor’s Office Check In

Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 5:43 pm
By: News On 6

A new scanner that analyzes the unique characteristics of the veins under your palm is being used to identify patients when they check in for doctor visits. News On 6 anchor Omar Villafranca reports it’s helping reduce errors that can lead to potentially deadly medical mistakes.

Tom Butz is checking in for a routine doctor's appointment.

"Sir, if you could place your right hand here with your middle finger in the middle," the receptionist at his doctor’s office said.

He's enrolling in a new patient registry program that will forever make patient identification more accurate.

"The palm vein scanner is simply a technology that utilizes human factors, which is biometric technology, to assign a unique identity to individuals as they're enrolled in the program," said Jim Burke, Director of Information Services, Carolinas Healthcare System.

An infrared scan of the patient's hand is assigned a number that is instantly matched with the patient's medical record, erasing the need for patients to repeatedly provide confidential information, like their social security number, at appointments.

"The advantage really comes in three pieces. There's a service component to the advantage, there's an efficiency component and there's a safety component, safety being the most important from a clinical point of view," said Dr. Roger Ray, Chief Medical Officer, Carolinas Healthcare System.

The system gives the doctor’s office access to accurate identification and medical history in an instant.

"With unconscious trauma patients, it's not unusual that we're forced to take care of the patient as a John or Jane Doe for hours,” Ray said. “Imagine the power of not having to do that for even a minute because the palm technology tells us who the patient is. It's a very powerful concept."

Another key attribute of the palm scanning system is that a number, not an image, is stored with the palm scanner. This eliminates the chance that a patient's information can be stolen or illegally reproduced.

Right now, Carolinas Healthcare System, located in North Carolina, is the only hospital system is the country to use the palm scanner for patient identification.

Watch the video: The Days Of Signing In At The Doctor Are Over