Checking in at New York University’s Langone Medical Center now has a high-tech twist. Instead of paperwork, the hospital is using a palm-scanner to trace the unique vein patterns in patients’ hands.

Made by Fujitsu, the scanners use near-infrared waves to take an image of the veins in a person’s palm. As long as the imaging has been done on a patient before, software can then match these pictures against those already on file. Set-up for new patients takes under a minute, and doesn’t require the person to be conscious.

Administrators hope the new technology will help reduce hospital identification errors that cause up to 98,000 US deaths every year.

“The primary reason we actually got into this was patient safety,” said Bernard Bimbaum, the medical center’s vice dean and chief of hospital operations. “The benefits so greatly outweighed the disadvantages it was a no-brainer to implement.”


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