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Palm Scanner Protects Medical Records

The next time you visit the doctor, some new technology may be at your fingertips to help protect your medical records.

Bon Secours St. Francis Health is rolling out PatientSecure, a palm scanner that uniquely identifies you and creates an inimitable match to your medical records.

"It will actually takes a biometric scan of the veins in the palm of your hand," says Becky Carter, Administrative Director of Informatics, Physician Support and Medical Records with Bon Secours in Greenville. "It is unique to that individual patient, and it's not the outside of the palm, it's the actual vein pattern. Then that is converted into a unique identifier which is then attached to the medical record."

The product was rolled out at all three local campuses on January 20th, and more than 2,000 people enrolled during the first week. Carter believes that number has more than doubled with recent media attention.

"Our purpose is to provide high quality care for our patients. This is an additional level of security to help prevent identify theft," which Carter says is a growing problem. Unauthorized individuals using another patient's medical insurance, or assuming their identity, can leave the unknowing patient with massive bills for services someone else received.

Kathryn Woods works at Bon Secours, and signed up for the system out of concern for her own safety--not just her medical records.

"God forbid I'm in an emergency situation without the ability to respond," says Woods. "I have a serious allergy, and I would hate for them to not be aware of that. If I need a CT scan or an MRI, and they [doctors] tried to give me contrast dye, it would be life threatening."

Bon Secours would not disclose the cost of the system rollout, saying it has been done throughout their health system and not just in Greenville. The cost to the patient is free.


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