The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

November 21, 2012

Hospital adds palm scanners

ENID, Okla. — Integris Bass Baptist Health Center is using some new technology to register patients, prevent identity theft and make sure each patient is matched with the correct records.

Enid’s Integris Health centers recently began installing a system that maps the vein patterns in patients’ hands with an infrared scanner.

The PatientSecure palm vein biometric identification system is billed by manufacturer HT Systems as being more accurate than fingerprint-scanning systems.

According to HT Systems literature, vein patterns in the palm form in the womb as early as six weeks after conception, and are as unique as the retinal vascular patterns used in retinal scanning systems.

Susan Levine, Integris Health regional director for revenue integrity, said the entire Integris Health system is installing the palm-scanning system primarily to prevent identity theft.

HT Systems has been marketing the PatientSecure system since 2007, and it now is installed in more than 160 hospitals nationwide.

Integris installed its first system in Yukon in September, and installation at all Enid facilities is in progress.

“This is an awesome tool for preventing identity theft,” Levine said. “The palm scan is 100 times more unique than a fingerprint, and it will tie you directly to your medical history and know it’s you.”

Melonie Stinson, a patient access coordinator at the hospital, said patient reaction to the new system has been positive.

“People are very receptive to it,” she said. “Every patient I have registered with it thought it was a great idea because it protects their identity and their medical information.”

According to HT Systems information, hospitals using the PatientSecure scanners report more than 99 percent of patients adopt the system.

Stinson said the system also promotes patient safety by making sure the correct information is matched to each patient.

“We see so many patients here, and a lot of patients have similar names, similar birth dates, and a lot of fathers and sons have the same name,” she said. “If you’re in a hurry or you’re not paying attention, the potential is there you could bring up the wrong patient information.”

Stephanie Granger, Integris Bass Baptist Health Center’s patient access manager, said the system also speeds up patient registration.

The first time a patient uses the system, it takes about 30 to 45 seconds more than a traditional registration, but each subsequent registration takes significantly less time, Granger said.

And, you don’t need to wait until you’re sick or injured to register with the new system.

Anyone who has previously been a patient at an Integris Health facility can register with the new scanner, allowing them faster access when they need to be seen or admitted.

Once a patient has registered with the palm-scan system, their records are available and can be linked to any Integris Health facility.

Granger said the palm scan results are not used by law enforcement or the legal system. Each palm scan translates the patient’s vein pattern into a unique identifying number sequence. The actual vein pattern imagery is not retained and cannot be accessed by any other user.

Levine said plans are to have the new technology installed at every Integris Health facility in the state within the next two years. Installation in Enid is scheduled for completion within the next month.

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