Medical Records From Iris Scan

Clinic deploys biometric patient check-in technology.

HEALTH An unlikely clinic in the Bronx, New York is one of the elite global hospitals that employ biometrics such as eye, palm or vein pattern readers to recognize an individual based on unique biological characteristics.

Using a New York Department of Health grant, the cutting-edge eye scanner at Urban Health Plan was purchased in 2008 and fully integrated during 2009. Early models were bulky. The clinic formed a partnership with Eye Controls to develop a user-friendly handheld iris camera and software.

By recording an individual's unique iris, the biometric scanner virtually eliminates insurance fraud and rapidly identifies patient records with a phenomenal rate of accuracy. In tests with simulated identification records, Eye Controls found zero errors in 8 million transactions. Errors associated with appending diagnostic tests to the wrong chart are eliminated. The creation of duplicate charts when patients are unable to recall whether they were previously treated at the facility is no longer an issue.

Ail Jain, a computer science professor at Michigan State University and biometrics researcher is impressed with the deployment at the clinic. Yet Jain identifies further issues to be addressed.

"How long will they keep the data?" he asked. "How will they protect it? Will they share it with authorities if they demand it? There are privacy issues."


Content is a summary of a 2010 article at CNN Health.