Other industries across the world use biometrics to make various tasks more efficient. Healthcare organizations in the United States could apply these same concepts to accurately link a patient’s medical records at different facilities, reports the Pew Charitable Trusts.  

Patients often visit multiple health care providers, and patient records from one facility may have information on diagnoses, lab test results, or other data critical to providers at another institution. Accurate patient matching would help ensure that the doctors, nurses, and other clinicians caring for a patient across a range of health care facilities have the information they need to offer high-quality, coordinated, and safe care.

But the use of biometrics for patient matching across health care facilities presents several challenges. Sites may use different types of biometric (some facial scans, some fingerprints), have various brands of scanners, or store the biometric data in a format incompatible with other systems. At the same time, the sharing of interoperable— or easily exchanged—biometrics data may introduce privacy concerns.

Read more from the Pew Charitable Trusts.