Imprivata PatientSecure today: assessing risks vs. benefits

Dr. Sean Kelly
May 21, 2020

As a  practicing  emergency  physician  and  the Chief Medical Officer at  Imprivata, I  know that  the last eight weeks have been challenging  for all of us.  And the challenges will continue;  but we are adapting and making progress day by day. As we continue to find our way to a “new normal,” I ask you to please consider this: In healthcare, we are always assessing  RISKS  versus  BENEFITS. 

The current risk levels are high for patients and caregivers alike.  In order to minimize risk and maximize benefits, we need to use  the  most  powerful tools at our disposal to maintain infection control  vigilance  and properly identify and  treat patients. This has never been more important. Imprivata PatientSecure is  an incredibly powerful tool for ensuring patient and provider safety and the highest quality of care.  

Patient  identification  is as critical as ever  

One point that  the COVID-19 crisis has reaffirmed for me is that  accessing a patient’s complete and accurate health record  is critical  not only to maintain good infection control protocols, but also  to  deliver  the safest and highest quality of care. Imprivata PatientSecure  is essential to this process.  Without  Imprivata PatientSecure,  the potential to create duplicates and overlays in  this complex environment can lead to truly devastating  clinical and financial  consequences  for  an already stressed system. 

Check-in process and the alternatives 

We understand that  some patients,  or internal stakeholders  at your organization, may be  concerned about  the need to touch the Imprivata PatientSecure palm vein scanner  during the enrollment or check-in process. But what are the risks/benefits of any alternatives? I would argue  that the risk of any alternative methodology is  actually  higher  to both provider and patient  than the minimal risk of  briefly  touching the scanner  once or twice  after it has been properly cleaned like any other medical device,  such as   a blood pressure cuff or stethoscope. 

What about  the pen and clipboard, driver’s license, insurance card,  and/or tablet device  that would be needed to replace the scanner (with much less accuracy)?  The  minimal touch to the scanner provides such huge  BENEFITS  of  nearly  100% accurate  identification that it  is almost irreplaceable. Compare this minimal risk for such large benefit to all the other surfaces that a  patient touches  throughout a visit  (such as door handles, chairs, walls, table surfaces, railings, etc.)  and it  really puts the risk/benefit ratio in proper perspective.  

Risks vs. benefits 

Imprivata’s position, and mine as a practicing physician, has not changed; we maintain that the potential negative outcomes of  not  positively identifying patients  – namely, an adverse event – outweigh the  perceived risks of using a properly sanitized palm vein scanner. 

The graphic below compares  the exposure of hand surface areas with which patients may come in contact during a healthcare encounter. Palm vein scanning  requires minimal contact.  Proper  cleaning of the palm vein scanner is straightforward, and  it  can be accomplished with minimal  supplies and time. 

As we  anticipate  the return of more patients and providers to healthcare facilities for  non-emergency or elective procedures, we know that a streamlined check-in process  will be critical to protect and satisfy patients and staff. For clinicians, confidence that we are treating a patient based on a complete medical record is paramount, and possible with Imprivata PatientSecure.  

If  we can  help you  in any way  with communicating  the importance of Imprivata PatientSecure to your internal or external audiences, please don’t hesitate to reach out.