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Broadlawns Installs First-in-Iowa Biometric Patient Identity Security System

DES MOINES, Iowa, July 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Broadlawns Medical Center is reading palms in order to increase patient safety. As a part of Broadlawns' facilities modernization plan and commitment to be the Iowa leader in Electronic Medical Records implementation, the Medical Center will be using palm scanners to register and check-in patients. The new system, called PatientSecure™, was unveiled to the public today at Broadlawns Medical Center as part of a week-long launch.  

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Employees are being encouraged to enroll this week so when patients begin to use the system, hospital staff and employees are already familiar with the cutting edge technology. Reporters got a first look at the hardware and the process and experienced the ease of enrolling themselves. Broadlawns has made the system the cornerstone of its continuing efforts to make records secure.  Thirty-five palm scanners are being installed.

"This is cutting edge technology," says David Wiener, President of HT Systems, who demonstrated for reporters. "This is the 20th installation of the system in a major medical center like Broadlawns. It might seem a like something out of a futuristic novel but this system improves service for patients while increasing security and efficiency."

The palm scanners use a harmless near-infrared light to illuminate the vein pattern in a patient's hand and then uses a biometric template to correspond with the patient's medical records. (See "How it works" below.) Every person has a unique vein pattern that does not change so it will reduce the chances of identity theft or misidentification.  PatientSecure™ is considered 100 times more accurate than fingerprints and is so precise that even identical twins can be easily identified.  

"We want to continue to offer advanced options such as this for our patients," says Jody Jenner, CEO. "Systems like PatientSecure™ contribute to Broadlawns' position as the only Level 6 facility in the state of Iowa and in the top 1.5% of hospitals in the country."  

Not only does PatientSecure™ protect each patient's identity, but it will quicken the registration process and therefore allow patients to efficiently receive appropriate care.

"We know improving efficiency is key to increasing patient satisfaction and quality of care," says Dr. Vincent Mandracchia, Broadlawns' Chief Medical Officer.  "Being efficient also supports Broadlawns' goal of delivering better patient care at a lower cost. PatientSecure™ will be central to our continued success in managing medical records with patient security in mind."

In case of an emergency situation, if the patient is unable to register on their own due to being unconscious or in pain, the palm scanners can easily pull the necessary electronic medical records in order to best treat the patient. Because Broadlawns delivers care to patients speaking 44 different languages, the palm scanners will also lessen the possible translation errors during the registration process.

How it works

The palm scanners use a harmless near-infrared light to illuminate the vein pattern in a patient’s hand and then uses a biometric template to correspond with the patient’s medical records. Every person has a unique vein pattern that does not change so it will reduce the chances of identity theft or misidentification. The initial scan takes less than a minute to conduct and even less time with each visit following. The scan generates a number that corresponds with Broadlawns Medical Center’s electronic medical records for the patient.

Broadlawns Medical Center first opened its doors as a hospital to the residents of Polk County on April 13, 1924. Over the years, Broadlawns has adapted to the changing demands of public health care, yet remained true to its mission of offering quality health services to all Polk County residents and training tomorrow's health care professionals. Today Broadlawns Medical Center is composed of: 

  • An acute care community hospital serving medical, surgical, mental health and primary care needs
  • A 60-member physician practice overseeing numerous specialty clinics and outpatient services
  • A Family Medicine Residency Program that graduates physician leaders who today serve in 22 of Iowa's 99 counties

Media Contact
Mikki Stier, MSHA, FACHE
Broadlawns Medical Center
Senior Vice President of Government
and External Relations

SOURCE Broadlawns Medical Center
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