If you've ever taken yourself or a friend/family member to the emergency room, you are more than likely familiar with the routine of having to fill out multiple rounds of insurance/medical forms while waiting for several hours to see a health care provider. Interestingly, several hospitals across the United States are now using a new technology that is not only designed to cut down on the forms/wait times, but also help eliminate incidents of hospital negligence caused by patient intake errors.
The technology - which seems like something out of a science fiction novel - is a scanner that identifies a patient by the wholly unique latticework of veins found in the palm of their hand.
Specifically, the machine - manufactured by Fujitsu - uses software to match the palm scan with the applicable medical record.
If the person is a new patient, officials claim it takes only a few minutes to set up an account in the hospital system and if the person is an existing patient, it takes mere seconds to process their information.
"We can then ask just one question: Has your insurance changed?" said Bernard Birnbaum, vice dean and chief of operations at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "If 'no,' you don't have to fill out a single form."
Outside of faster processing time for patients, another ostensible benefit of the palm-scanning machine appears to be a reduction in the number of hospital errors, which are estimated to be the cause of roughly 98,000 deaths in the United States each year.
"The primary reasons we actually got into this was patient safety," said Birnbaum. "The benefits so greatly outweighed the disadvantages it was a no-brainer to implement."
In this regard, health care professionals can have a complete medical history readily available (even if a patient is unconscious), including information on allergies and current medications.
According to Birnbaum, entrance in the palm-scan program is entirely voluntary and only 1 percent of patients have thus far decline to participate.
Stay tuned for more from our Texas medical malpractice blog ...
If you were seriously injured by hospital negligence or a surgical error, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced legal professional.
This post was for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.