With one touch, Akron General patients now can be connected to their electronic health records using a fingerprint scanner.
In November, Akron General began installing SafeChx, a patient identification technology, throughout its major registration areas.
The fingerprint scanners aim to prevent medical identify fraud, improve patient outcomes and eliminate duplicate records, which can be created with misspellings or typos. Up to 10% of all medical records are duplicates, according to CrossChx, a Columbus-based company offering healthcare identity software including SafeChx.
“We want to make sure that we don't have duplicate medical records either, because that also slows down the treatment of the patient,” said Stacy Ickes, director of patient access for Akron General.
CrossChx, founded in 2012, offers SafeChx to hospitals at no cost, including installation, training and support. Since the state of Ohio provided funding for the pilot, CrossChx has grown through venture capital investments and revenue earned from premium applications, according to Brad Mascho, co-founder and president of CrossChx.
Ickes said there have been a few instances where the scanners could not read a fingerprint, but the vast majority of patients have opted into the technology and had no problems.
SafeChx has been collecting several hundred new fingerprint IDs a day at Akron General. Once patients are enrolled, which takes about 30 seconds, they can use the technology immediately. Each day, a couple dozen returning patients use their fingerprint to check in.
Staff still check patients' names and birthdays like always — and can continue to use that for those who can't or don't want to use their fingerprint — but SafeChx helps them do a better job at instantly identifying patients.
“It reduces the risk of fraudulent claims and medical errors due to misidentification,” Ickes said.