Reliable patient identification is crucial within radiotherapy, just as everywhere else in healthcare. For this there already exist many, often manual, checks. The irradiation institute Radiotherapiegroep (Radiotherapy Group) and medical products supplier Cablon Medical have together taken another step forwards with the palm scan, coupled to the accelerator.
Comparison of biometric measurement methods
After much research, a special scanner that measures the vessel bed was opted for. The blood vessel pattern is unique to each person. A palm scan is even more accurate than identification based on other biometrical data, such as a fingerprint or an iris scan. The false acceptance rate for the palm scan is 100 times smaller than with a fingerprint scan.
Also, a palm scanner is more widely applicable, because it is suitable for all patients. Medication has no effect on the palm scan, while a fingerprint, for example under the influence of chemotherapy, can even disappear temporarily. Moreover, the palm scan works contactlessly, so that for example damp hands or deformation due to pressing too hard have no effect. The scanning of a palm also works most quickly. This is important given that the new identification method will be conducted over 50,000 times a year.
The new procedure will be that the patient reports to the desk to be registered. In this, both hands are scanned. The scan is stored as an encrypted code in the system and is inseparably linked to the patient.
Once the patient is lying on the treatment table during a subsequent visit, the irradiation calculated for him or her is prepared. In position, one of the patient’s hands is scanned. The scanner is portable, so that it is easy to identify patients accurately and quickly. Only if the identification is positive can the irradiation equipment be started.
Besides this procedure for registration and treatment, work is under way to develop a module for the waiting room and the appointments system.
The method has been extensively tested internally by Radiotherapiegroep and manufacturer Cablon Medical. The practical test with the first patients has already started. This will allow an assessment – on a small scale – of whether everything also works as expected in practice. After the practical test, the palm scan will be employed for all Radiotherapiegroep patients. The palm scan will be made available to all hospitals in the near future.