DUHS Registration Faster, Safer with New Palm Scanning Technology

posted July 12th, 2011

On July 12, Duke became the first health care system in the Triangle to introduce a cutting-edge biometric palm scanning technology to register patients.


Patient Secure enrollment fairs
(All take place in the Duke Hospital cafeteria lobby unless otherwise noted.)
July 15, 7-9:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
July 18, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 19, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 20, S. Alston, Room 102, 1-5 p.m.
July 21, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 22, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 25, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 27, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 27, S. Alston, Room 102, 8:30 a.m.-noon.
July 28, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
July 29, 7-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.

Called Patient Secure, the system uses near-infrared light to scan the unique vein pattern in a person’s hand.

“This technology provides a safe, secure, and fast way for our patients to register for care,” said Cecelia Moore, chief operating officer of the Patient Revenue Management Organization. “It will transform the patient registration experience while protecting privacy and enhancing quality.”

The technology is designed to streamline patient identification, protect patient’s personal information and reduce identity theft.

After a patient is enrolled with Patient Secure, they can be identified at registration within a matter of seconds.

To register, a patient places their right hand on a small black box and the scanning device captures an image of the blood flowing through the veins. Once the image is scanned, it is converted into a number based on the vein pattern and registered in the system.

The patient’s unique identifying palm portrait automatically registers them, reducing the chances of misidentification and minimizing the need to present other identifying information after initial enrollment, such as a driver's license or Social Security number.

The technology is based on the unique vein pattern of each person, which is considered more accurate than fingerprint matching or facial recognition. To scan the palm, near-infrared light is used which is the same light found in television remote controls.

“In addition to protecting patient’s personal information, this system will better enable us to quickly and accurately identify patients, reducing the chances of misidentifying patients with similar names or eliminate duplicate records,” Moore said.

The technology first will be introduced in the emergency department and admissions at Duke University Hospital, then at clinic locations with kiosks and finally at Durham Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Online and in-person training sessions will be made available to all employees who will be enrolling patients into the system.

Enrollment fairs will be taking place at locations across DUHS and throughout the Triangle. These events will allow patients, employees and their families to participate in the brief enrollment process and expedite their next registration experience at participating Duke facilities.

Watch a brief video with Cecelia Moore, chief operating officer for DUHS PRMO, who talks about the new palm scanning technology used during patient registration.

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