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New High-Tech System Lends A 'Hand' To Check-In Process At Abington Hospital

ABINGTON, Twp., (CBS) -- There is a new kind of check-in system when you go to the doctor or when you get medical tests. It's quick and easy and high-tech.

This is about instant recognition with something that is close to a fingerprint. It's a way to make sure patients who visit doctors or get tests at Abington Hospital are accurately identified without going through the standard check-in.

Patients are asked to place their right hand under a device that scans their palm.

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It's a quick and easy check-in for Brooke Harris who is pregnant and goes to a lot of doctor appointments at Abington Hospital. "It's pretty nice to save a step from taking out your i-d and insurance card every time because that can get kind of annoying especially with all of these visits," said Harris.

The new technology can quickly identify a patient and links that person to their medical records so there's no confusion.

The scan works with a harmless near-infrared light that reads vein patterns of your palm. Those patterns are unique to each person.

Janet Lentz is Director of Patient Access at Abington Hospital.

She says the hand scanner is most important for patient safety because it avoids mixing up patients with similar names and makes sure that each patient is accurately identified.

"By scanning the patient with their medical record which is unique to each visit, we actually have that history from visit to visit so we make sure we have the same patient every time," said Lentz. " It's exciting, it's really helped.

The scanner is activated when patients first register so with each subsequent visit patients check in with just a scan and the computer does the rest.

"It was a little different but we like to try new things," says Harris. "It's a little weird but it's 2017 so we're in the future so its the right time to do things like this."

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The hand scan is only used by Abington Hospital and is not shared with any outside sources.

And if you don't want to use the hand scanner you can simply opt out.

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