BIOMETRIC-ASSISTED UNIQUE PATIENT IDENTIFIER
Over the years, healthcare institutions have relied on one or a combination of medical record number (MRN), demographics and issued documents such as name, sex, date of birth, social security number, and identity cards as patient identifiers. But all those have been proven unsuitable and inefficient as patient identifiers due to one or more of the following drawbacks: non-uniqueness, possessiveness, inability to establish the true identity of a patient, and limitedness of applicability to referencing of patients across healthcare systems. This project is geared towards solving the drawbacks of the earlier methods of patient identification by adopting a hybrid solution: a combination of a unique 15-digit numeric identifier and a patient’s biometric feature. A patient is expected to enroll their palm vein, with other basic information such as bio data and contact at an accredited healthcare facility, on their first visit and be assigned a unique 15-digit numeric identifier. The data are stored and maintained in a Master Unique Patient Identifier Index (MUPII). On the patient’s subsequent visits to any accredited healthcare facility, the unique code (called the unique patient identifier) is used to make an identity claim and verified by matching the patient’s palm vein pattern against the template in the MUPII. Furthermore, the identifier is useful for filing, labeling of laboratory specimens, recording, transferring and referencing of patients. In situations where the identifier is not handy (as a result of incapacitation or unconsciousness of the patient), the patient could still be identified, using just their palm vein feature alone. This solution will eliminate patient misidentification and identity theft in healthcare or, at least, reduce them to the minimum.
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