Enhancing the patient experience with positive patient identification

Sentara also found that revisiting the basics of the system was necessary to remind teams about the benefits Imprivata PatientSecure provided. They provided scripts to the registration staff until they were comfortable with being direct with patients and saying: “Hi, let’s get you identified today,” instead of “Would you like to put your palm down?”

Success stories

Sentara has measured their successes with both numbers and stories. In one case, Sentara was treating a patient suspected, and then convicted, of identity theft. After hearing about Sentara’s use of Imprivata PatientSecure, a judge mandated that the patient be enrolled in the system, which effectively curtailed his theft while still allowing him to receive proper treatment. 

In another case, a patient arrived while having a stroke, unable to identify himself. The ER nurses used the Trauma Search function of Imprivata PatientSecure, which allows clinicians to apply search criteria to reduce the size of the database being searched, and placed his palm on the scanner. They identified the man, who had previously been enrolled in Imprivata PatientSecure, which allowed the clinicians to confidently provide the proper care.

According to Slone, the benefits of being able to identify an unresponsive patient in the ER are immeasurable. “If patients are unable to communicate with clinicians,” she says, “we’re unable to identify them and understand what treatment options are the best and most safe. With Imprivata PatientSecure, we simply place a patient’s palm on the scanner and, if they have been enrolled in the system, they can be immediately identified, saving time and lives.”

The ER was initially a difficult area for implementation, but Sentara staff developed something they called a “pivot process,” which involved the registration staff and ER nurses working in tandem. The registration staff would use the palm vein scanner to identify the patient as the ER nurse took vitals, which allowed the urgency of ER care to seamlessly flow with the necessity of hospitals preventing patient misidentification – a truly revolutionary process. 

Sentara has successfully implemented Imprivata PatientSecure in eight of its hospitals with plans to add two more this year.