Health Team

Duke Hospital uses patients' palms for ID

Posted August 19, 2011 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2011 6:33 p.m. EDT

— Carrying a picture ID around may soon be a thing of the past. It's already happening at Duke University Hospital, where patients’ palms act as their IDs.

Duke has adopted a new patient identity system in their emergency room and main admissions desk. A small black box scans the patient's palm.

The system began in Japan in about 2004 and utilizes a palm vein identification system that's unique to each individual.

“It's a lot more accurate. Once we did our research, we really understood that the vein pattern's unique, more unique than a finger print,” said Cecelia Moore, who’s in charge of Duke’s patient admissions.

Moore says some patients wouldn’t want their fingerprints taken anyway.

The new system also helps with patients who don’t have any ID or are unconscious and can’t identify themselves.

“We can still identify them, so we're absolutely positive of that identity,” Moore said.

Duke has had the palm vein identification system in place for about six weeks, and they've enrolled about 2,000 patients into the system.