Our goal is to develop a biometric patient identification system employing fingerprint scanners and pattern recognition software to identify patients undergoing radiation therapy or surgical operations to reduce medical errors associated with patient misidentification and failed procedure verification. Our customized system will be developed to interact with the Multi-Access treatment record and verification system (IMPAC inc., Sunnyvale, CA) used by radiation oncology and picture archiving and communication system (PACS) patient imaging databases. The new system will include a surgery description and display system. Visual information with procedure notes can be accessed and displayed on room monitors to aid verification of the correctness of the medical procedure beyond simple patient identification. The Joint Commission (www.jointcommission.org) recommends improving the accuracy of patient identification by using at least two patient identifiers when providing care, treatment or services and a final verification process using active communication techniques. The intent of the requirement for using "two identifiers" is two-fold: first, to reliably identify the individual and secondly, to match the service or treatment to that individual. Therefore, the two patient-specific identifiers must be directly associated with the individual and the same two identifiers must be directly associated with the treatments or procedure. The two identifiers may be in the same location, such as a wristband. It is the person-specific information that is the "identifier," not the medium on which that information resides. Acceptable identifiers may be the individual's name, an assigned identification number, telephone number, or other person-specific identifier. Comparing the individual's stated name with the name on the requisition would be one identifier. A second identifier for a care recipient without a wristband might be date of birth, social security number, home address, or phone number. The two-identifier requirement applies to an order for care and to report critical test results. The most popular method is using a wristband. A study conducted at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Los Angeles, CA, compared wristband identification errors for 712 hospitals. Phlebotomists checked patient wristbands on 2,463,727 occasions, finding 67,289 errors. Ten percent of the participating hospitals had error rates of 10.9 % greater. The researchers found patient wristbands were missing entirely in 33,308 instances which represented 49.5% of errors. Multiple wristbands with different information occurred 8.3% of the time;wristbands with incomplete data 7.5%;erroneous data 8.6%;illegible data 5.7%;and patients wearing wristbands with another patient's identifying information occurred 0.5% of the time. Our proposed biometric identification system can prevent more than a half of the mistakes associated with wristband methods, such as missing wristbands, multiple wristbands, illegible data, and wearing someone else's wristband. Our system offers several significant advantages beyond accurate identification: No physical identifiers that can be lost or damaged, patients maintain privacy. This system can be used to identify and provide patient vital information to clinicians when a patient is not able to provide his/her information. Such patients could be suffering from Alzheimer's, unconsciousness, bad hearing, or language difficulty. A new patient initially will have two fingers scanned (about 1 second each) and is photographed with web camera. During actual use, the patient will have one finger scanned, the print will be identified, (about 1 sec / 1000 records to search), a second finger will be scanned for a second verification, and then the patient photograph is displayed. The probability of error is one out of 1 billion.
Our goal is to develop a computerized patient identification system employing fingerprint scanners and pattern recognition software to identify patients undergoing radiation therapy or surgical operations to reduce medical errors associated with misidentification. Our system can prevent more than a half of the mistakes (67,289 incidences out of 2,263,727 samples) associated with wristband methods, such as missing wristbands, multiple wristbands, illegible data, and wearing someone else's wristband. Our system offers several significant advantages beyond accurate identification: No physical identifier that can be lost or damaged, patients maintain privacy, patients can access scanners placed throughout a hospital for location and direction information for a scheduled procedure.
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