setting by enabling patient identification (and the corresponding medical history) for an unresponsive person, when the use
of fingerprints is not possible (burn victim, amputation), or for a
person with mental illness or memory issues.
A National Human Genome Research Institute study revealed
that facial recognition enables physicians to diagnose genetic
diseases such as Down syndrome and DiGeorge syndrome.
new diagnostic tool may facilitate early medical interventions.
Press the Shutter Button: Facial Images Improving HIM
New facial recognition products are appearing on the healthcare scene. Imagine the ease with which a patient’s image can
bring up their file in the EHR using facial recognition software.
There will no longer be a need to distinguish between similar
patient identities to select the correct file.
In addition to using the software to identify patients, this
technology can also be applied to grant or deny medical staff
access to a patient’s protected health information. Imagine
never having a problem again when you lose a key card or forget a password. According to a blog post published by facial
recognition software vendor RightPatient, “Biometrics has already proven itself as a more secure alternative for accurate
identification in healthcare. In fact, 69% of 16 to 24-year-olds
recently polled indicated they believe biometrics will be faster
and easier than passwords and PINs and half of those foresee
the death of passwords by 2020.”
NextGate’s facial recognition software, for example, claims to
simplify registration, flag fraudulent activity, and eliminate the
creation of duplicate records.
15 If facial recognition software can
actually live up to the expectations, it is possible that duplicate
records may be a thing of the past for healthcare providers. Reducing fraudulent activity will save money, as well as better protect patients and their healthcare data.
These exciting facial recognition advances result in greater efficiency, security, safety, and accuracy in collecting and managing patient data. These are welcome technological changes to
the HIM profession as it progresses into the future. ¢
1. Rosen, Jeffrey. “A Watchful State.” The New York Times Magazine. October 7, 2001. www.nytimes.com/2001/10/07/
2. Singh, Richa; Mayank Vasta; and Afzel Noore. “Effect of
Plastic Surgery on Face Recognition: A Preliminary Study.”
White paper. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3b90/f4b-
3. Nelson, Steven. “Half of U.S. Adults Are in Police Facial
Recognition Networks.” U.S. News and World Report. October 18, 2016. https://tinyurl.com/y7dddncm.
4. Claypoole, Ted and Cameron Stoll. “Developing Laws Address Flourishing Commercial Use of Biometric Information.” Business Law Today. May 2016. www.americanbar.
5. Garvie, Clare; Alvaro Bedoya; and Jonathan Frankle. “The
Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition
in America.” Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology. October 18, 2016. www.perpetuallineup.org.
6. Claypoole, Ted and Cameron Stoll. “Developing Laws Address Flourishing… .”
8. Garvie, Clare; Alvaro Bedoya; and Jonathan Frankle. “The
Perpetual Line-Up... .”
9. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “Accurate Contactless 3D Fingerprint Identification System Developed.”
ScienceDaily. March 30, 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/re-
10. De Chant, Tim. “The Limits of Facial Recognition.” NovaNext. April 26, 2013. www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/
11. Lief, Erik. “When Do Facial Recognition Photos Stop Working.” American Council on Science and Health. March 2,
12. Claypoole, Ted and Cameron Stoll. “Developing Laws Address Flourishing… .”
13. Mjoseth, Jeannine. “Facial Recognition Software Helps Diagnose Rare Genetic Disease.” National Human Genome Research Institute. March 23, 2017. https://tinyurl.com/y9lr82pb.
14. Trader, John. “In Your Face: The Future of the Federated
Patient Identification.” RightPatient blog. October 7, 2015.
15. NextGate. “Facial Recognition—Transforming the Patient Experience: One Face at a Time.” https://tinyurl.com/yaoz2t4g.
Valerie McCleary ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is adjunct faculty at Southern New
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