Evaluation Background: Biometric Patient Identification Systems
July 31, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance
Here's background for our Evaluations of biometric patient identification systems, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also, review our latest product ratings.
Biometric patient identification systems are used to provide assurance of patient identity, specifically by performing authentication (i.e., verifying that patients are who they say they are) and identification (i.e., matching the patient to a single entry in a database). These systems use some form of biometric data to identify a patient, typically at registration when the patient enters a facility. The systems are usually used as a module within the electronic health record (EHR) registration workflow.
Biometric identification has been used in some form for over 100 years. Electronic sensors have been used to authenticate users, in order to grant either computer access or physical entry, since the mid-1970s, at about the same time automated fingerprint matching systems became available. Use in healthcare is a recent development, with many of the companies that produce biometric patient identification equipment having been founded between 2005 and 2011. Recent technical advances in machine learning as well as increased need to prevent medical identity theft have fueled recent growth.
Biometric patient identification systems consist of three major components:
Patient (customer) interface. This is an application that may reside on a tablet, mobile device, or web page. Its primary purpose is for the patient to interact with the system. Reasons for patient interaction include entering new information on initial registration, confirming identification after the system finds a match, or answering any questions that the facility may require upon facility entry.
Sensors. Many systems offer a choice of sensors. Typical ones offered are: