“Many organizations adopting electronic prescribing for controlled substances have selected biometrics, and specifically fingerprint biometrics, as one method of authentication for compliance,” Kelly says. “It is an easy, fast, and highly-secure way for prescribers to complete two-factor authentication.”
Patient identification is also a valuable use case for biometrics throughout the care continuum, including at point of care. One use case is radiation oncology, where healthcare providers want to be certain that they are treating the correct patient, Kelly says. “Patients may see this most at the point of registration, when the registration or patient access staff uses biometrics to make sure they are checking in the correct patient and bringing up the patient’s correct medical record.”
Rolling out biometrics across a health system
Keely Aarnes, PMP, assistant vice president of business operations for Northwell Health, says the health system is planning to rollout iris recognition for patient identification across more than 600 practices through the next 18 months. Working with RightPatient, Aarnes says the organization was able to pilot the technology at 11 practices before planning to expand the use across the organization.
“We strategically went with iris recognition, because it takes a high-resolution photo of the patient’s face, which then uses the iris identification and that pattern to create an identifier,” Aarnes says. “That picture can be used for multiple use cases. One, we take that picture and send it through our EHR, which is a better level of identification for the clinician.”
Second, Aarnes says the health system would like to use facial recognition in the future to identify patients as they enter facilities and create a more concierge patient experience or warn staff of security risks.
Aarnes says high-resolution photos provide multiple use cases. “If we know that a patient has arrived, we can welcome them [and] send them messaging and way finding so that they know where to go. It also has a use case in the hospital where we can identify patients that we know we want to intervene early, such as central fraud or drug seeking.”
Aarnes believes the initial rollout of the iris recognition technology will allow the health system to solve security and patient experience challenges in the future.
“We need to really start thinking outside the box so we’re not just solving our immediate registration problems in a silo. We need to start thinking about what healthcare looks like in 10 years from now with telehealth services, online scheduling, filling out documents, and registration intake forms,” Aarnes says. “That process has to start with identification. That’s why we chose something that has the ability to be portable and not something that is tied to our registration station.”