Patients are happy with palm vein scanning
Most thank access staff
In June 2013, Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, TX, implemented palm scanning technology in outpatient registration areas at one of its hospitals. To date, more than 36,000 people have been enrolled.
"We've had a good adoption rate," reports Tonie Bayman, director of revenue and recovery for patient business services. When patients place their hands on the scanner, a high-resolution infrared photograph of the vein pattern just below the skin is created, which is then stored electronically.
Initially, Bayman was worried that patients wouldn't accept the new technology. "My team provided onsite support to address any concerns, but we just haven't had any concerns," she says.
Once patient access representatives explain that the intent is to protect the integrity of the patient's medical records, virtually all patients have been cooperative. "Going into it, we thought that we would get more pushback. But the patients readily adapted," Bayman says.
EDs are next to roll out
Palm scanner will be rolled out at Memorial Hermann's four EDs next.
"The biggest benefit is that ED patients are the most likely to be showing up without any ID," says Michael Bennett, Memorial Hermann's system executive for patient business services.
The biggest challenge will be to integrate the palm scanning technology with the ED's registration system. This system is different from the registration system used by the rest of the hospital.
Bayman says another reason that outpatient registration areas were first to implement palm scanning is because "the ED is a chaotic environment. We wanted to start it in a more stable environment."
Here are three expected benefits:
Delays will be reduced.
If the ED patient already has been enrolled, the palm scanner will pull up the right record immediately. If the patient hasn't been enrolled, the registrar enrolls them after the medical screening exam is completed. "This should expedite the process," says Bayman.
The system will identify if the patient is in a healthcare exchange plan.
"We won't necessarily know one plan from another by looking at the patient's insurance card," says Bayman. "This will help us track the exchange patients separately."
It will deter identify thieves.
Bennett sys, "In this day and age, it's easy to take a photo and create a false ID. Identify theft can't do that with a palm scan."