Evaluation: RightPatient Biometric Patient Identification System

July 31, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance


  • Biometric patient identification systems are primarily designed to authenticate patients, based on their unique anatomic features, as part of the registration process when they enter a facility. Authentication is the process of verifying that someone is who they say they are. In its simplest form, authentication involves making sure the presented biometric properties match those of the database entry for that person.
  • The RightPatient system can be used in conjunction with existing registration workflows built into EHRs.
  • The system can also be implemented as a stand-alone application.
  • Other uses are to:
    • Identify a person. This involves comparing a person's biometric properties to those of all of the entries in the database to determine who the person is from among many. This may be necessary when the patient is unresponsive.
    • Identify/authenticate a patient before performing a taskā€”that is, to confirm "right patient." ECRI sees significant potential for hospital safety improvements when biometric identification systems are used in this role. While we are not aware of the RightPatient system being used in this way currently, both the vendor and the customers that were provided as references have expressed intentions to use it in this way in the foreseeable future. RightPatient offers a handheld iris camera, and patients can be authenticated through the platform by capturing their photo with standard webcams, smartphones, and tablets.
    • Act as a master patient index, allowing all healthcare applications to use consistent demographic data. This aids data exchange between applications and can prevent errors like fragmentation of a single patient's information into multiple records, overlay of the wrong patient's data into a patient's chart, and rejection of data due to identifier mismatch.
    • Act as a source of standardized patient images that can be displayed alongside the patients' data on other systems to remind clinicians whose data is on the screen.
  • The RightPatient system consists of:
    • A server, which:
      • Contains the database of biometric parameters for each patient, along with demographic information
      • Processes incoming biometric signals to authenticate or identify who they are from
      • Provides interfaces to other systems, typically the EHR
      • Provides web services for management of the system, including an analytic portal to obtain system logs and reports
    • A sensor. These are typically connected to a kiosk computer for power. RightPatient uses sensors that meet the standards applicable to the associated mode of identification (i.e., facial recognition or fingerprint).

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