Everyone hopes that if you have a medical emergency, that the hospital treating you will be able to gain immediate access to your medical records. The truth is that unless you are fortunate enough to be treated by our local hospital where you have been treated before, your medical records may not be readily available.


Interoperability refers to the ability of computerized systems to connect and communicate with one another, even if they were developed by different manufacturers. Being able to exchange information between applications, databases, and other computer systems is crucial for the healthcare. Interoperability has to do with the capability of disparate computer and software systems to exchange and share data from a range of sources, including laboratories, clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, and medical practices.

For example if a physician sends a patient to a radiology clinic for a complex fracture, the physician should be able to send the patients records to the clinic and the clinic should be able to send the results back to the patient’s physicians.

However, several challenges still bar stakeholders from achieving true interoperability for optimal care delivery and improved patient health outcomes. One of the main issues is the lack of standardization in identifying individual patients.  If you can’t properly identify the patient, how can you be sure that you are transferring the right information.

Master Patient Indexes

Recently,  establishing an enterprise master patient index has been thought to be the answer to this problem. A recent study by Black Book Research found that hospitals without an enterprise master patient index had an average of 18% duplicate records in their EHR system. This duplication caused repeated medical care costing a reported average of $1950 per patient per inpatient stay and over $800 per ED visit. Inaccurate patient identification or information was responsible for 33% of all denied insurance claims and cost the average hospital $1.5 million on 2017 and the US healthcare system over $6 billion dollars annually. Without a master patient index and supporting tools, match rates when trying to exchange information between organizations was as low as 24%.

Hospitals which have put enterprise master patient indexes and support tools in place since 2016 reported consistently correct patient identification at an overall average 93% of registrations and 85% of externally shared records among non-networked providers. That is certainly a lot better but still is not 100% absolute patient identification.

Related Content: Download the Patient Identity Dilemma

Absolute Patient Identity

Biometric Patient Identification offers a scalable solution for the patient identity problem in healthcare organizations. While traditional demographic based registration systems are reliant on people asking—and receiving— the right answers, you can achieve a high level of accuracy with biometrics systems. You can use biological characteristics like fingerprints, iris or palm vein scans, which offer you unique and accurate identification methods.

Privasent offers secure biometric patient identification coupled with a smartcard. The smartcard adds an additional layer of security to the system providing absolute patient identity for the healthcare facility. Without absolute patient identity, how will you ever know for sure that you are using or exchanging the right information. If you would like to learn more about how you can provide absolute healthcare identification with biometrics, request a consultation.