September 25, 2022
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Facial Recognition Technology Coming To Virginia Hospital Center

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ARLINGTON, VA — VHC Health will begin using facial biometrics for patient identification at Virginia Hospital Center and its other locations in the D.C. area by the end of 2022, according to the Arlington-based health care provider.

The health care provider is partnering with CERTIFY Health, which will provide the biometric authentication technology. CERTIFY’s technology will be integrated into VHC’s existing electronic health record and administrative systems.

VHC Health has launched the biometric positive patient identification check-in system as part of a pilot program in the Virginia Hospital Center’s radiology and cardiology departments, with plans to fully implement the platform by the end of the year. Eventually, during patient registration at all VHC Health facilities, biometric face data will be collected from patients.

“VHC is proud to be the first health care system in the DMV area to partner with CERTIFY Health to enhance the patient experience,” Michael Mistretta, senior vice president and chief information officer at VHC Health, said in a statement Tuesday. “This is one of several recent investments that VHC has made in innovative technologies as we strive to provide the safest, most secure options for our patients and community.”

In April, Virginia Hospital Center announced that it had rebranded itself as VHC Health, a change that the health system says reflect its community-centered approach to bringing top-quality healthcare to patients across the region. The rebranding followed the recent completion of a new garage at the Arlington campus and the opening of several new physician offices in the region.

The purpose of biometric positive patient identification at VHC Health offices will be to verify the identity of the patient, starting with check-in. Patient misidentification and fraud have become increasingly rampant issues, leading to liabilities for health care providers, VHC Health said.

“One of the most secure mechanisms to prevent this is incorporating biometric authentication into healthcare registration and procedures,” VHC Health said.

VHC Health and other health care providers are moving away from using biographics-based identification — name, date of birth and Social Security numbers — and toward biometrics. Identifying patients based on biologically unique traits like face, fingerprint, iris and voice will ensure that care is provided to the right people, according to its proponents.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for us to have a strategic partner who is committed to innovation around the patient experience the way VHC is and so willing to adopt some of the most cutting-edge technology in healthcare right now” Marc Potash, CEO of CERTIFY Health, said in a statement.

Potash, who founded CERTIFY Health in 2012, previously created a payment platform called SecureNet to streamline payment technology. Potash also is the founder and managing partner of URock Ventures, a venture capital and private equity firm based in Potomac, Maryland.

Skepticism about the use of biometrics has been on the decline over the past decade, especially among younger generations more accustomed to using technology in most aspects of life. Many Americans already use biometrics such as fingerprint, face, or iris recognition technology to unlock their smartphones. Iris or facial scans are also used at airports for security and customs.

But public hesitancy remains about how biometric data will be stored and whether it will be misused for other purposes.

According to Potash, though, his company’s technology “will safeguard VHC patient information and increase speed and efficiency during the check-in process.”

RELATED: Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center Rebrands Itself As VHC Health



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