News and Information

CaroMont to start palm reading for health care

04-05-2011

Registration at the hospital will soon mimic that of a checker scanning barcodes at the grocery store. No endless questions to answer. No forms to fill out.

With the Patient Access Secured System, hospital personnel will simply scan the palms of patients as they check in. The process will bring up patient records and be sure that medical staff has the right person, according to Mike Johnson with CaroMont Health, parent company of CaroMont Regional Medical Center.

“Positively identifying the patient is important,” he said.

The scanner works by taking a digital image of the vein patterns in a person’s hand. Each vein pattern is unique.

The palm scan can be even more accurate than a fingerprint, said Johnson. Some people, such as construction workers, may get injuries that alter their prints.

The new, high-tech system works on everyone except infants. Because babies’ bodies are in such a state of flux, they are not good candidates for the scan.

But participation is not required. Patients can opt not to enroll if they wish.

Not only can the palm scan make registration quick, painless and private, but the practice can be beneficial in an emergency if the patient is unconscious.

The scanners have already been installed at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln.

CaroMont Regional Medical Center isn’t far behind. Systems are being installed now and should be ready for rollout in June.

Johnson said he’s been looking at options of scanners for years but none seemed to be affordable enough to justify the cost.

“We were interested in that because we’ve looked at biometric identification for a number of years,” he said.

At one point Johnson checked into iris scanners. They were going for more than $1 million.

Technology now is such that it can pick up on a variety of unique traits, said Johnson.

“It is amazing how many parts of us are unique — our palm prints, irises, voices,” he said.

The palm scanners have come a long way and seem to give the best bang for the buck, said Johnson.

Each scanner is less than $200. The hospital will install 250 in its various departments and affiliated practices.

Nurses will still use wristbands and barcodes for patients already admitted into the hospital. The palm scanners will be used at the point of entry.

The non-invasive system will accomplish a number of important points for patients and medical staff, said Johnson.

Patients will no longer have to verbally give their information, leaving them open for medical or identity theft.

Office staff will be certain that similar names don’t cause confusion and mix up paperwork. And accuracy will be easier to achieve, said Johnson.

“We think it’s one more step in trying to improve our service to the community,” said Johnson.

You can reach Diane Turbyfill at 704-869-1817.

Original article posted on gastongazette.com