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Hospitals are using RightPatient identification system to improve patient safety and registration.

Photo courtesy of RightPatient

Community Medical Centers of Fresno, Calif., is using biometric technology to make sure patients are always identified correctly.

The family of health care clinics began using RightPatient software last August, according to a recent report from Hospitals & Health Networks.

The program helps the hospital to eliminate misidentifications and ensure patients do not provide incorrect or inconsistent information. It’s done strictly on a voluntary basis, however.

Patients admitted for the first time who opt in to the program are asked to look into a small, rectangular mirror so that a staff member can photograph their iris patterns with a high-resolution digital camera. The photo is displayed in the patient’s electronic health record only, and personnel use the eyeprints to match patients to the correct EHR.

To encourage participation, Community Medical Centers has reached out to patients to explain the purpose behind the program.

Judi Binderman, M.D., Community Medical Centers’ chief medical informatics officer, says 5,200 patients have opted into the program thus far. Of those, she says none who have returned for additional health services have been misidentified.

“The key is using this as your standard registration process, at every entry point where you have patients registering for services,” Binderman explains