Sentara Patient Identification System

Sentara is offering a high-tech way to protect your patient information – palm scanning.

The Sentara Patient Identification System, which traces the vein pattern in your hand, ensures that your medical records are secure and easily accessed during the registration process no matter where you go in Sentara. The goal is for easier registration, a higher level of security and rapid identification in case of an emergency.

  • How does palm scanning work?

    Palm scanning uses harmless, near-infrared light to illuminate the vein pattern in your hand. The data from your vein pattern is stored for reference and used at future Sentara visits for fast, accurate patient identification.

  • Why is Sentara using palm scanning?

    Providing safe patient care starts with accurate patient identification. Having your unique palm scan to identify you ensures Sentara will open your unique electronic health record to review your history and document your care at each visit.

  • Is scanning near-infrared light safe to use?

    Near-infrared light is the shortest wavelength of infrared light. It does not give off heat and is the type of infrared light used in devices such as night vision goggles and in TV remote control devices.

  • What about hand hygiene? How often do you clean the hand guide?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the scanner hand guide can be cleaned effectively with any sanitizing agent. The hand guide is sanitized after each use.

  • Why aren’t my name and birth date enough to identify me?

    In a large organization such as Sentara, it is common to have multiple patients with the same name. Sometimes as many as a dozen may have the same first and last name, even the same middle initial and/or birth date.

    Patients with the same name may have clinic visits on the same day or be hospitalized during the same time period, increasing the risk of misidentification. In addition, your palm scan can identify you, even if you are unconscious or otherwise not able to communicate.

  • Will children be scanned?

    Yes. Children will be scanned beginning at age 5. They will be rescanned each year until age 15 due to growth of their hands.

  • When will the scan be used?

    The scan file will be used only to identify patients during the registration process.

  • What if I refuse to be scanned?

    You will receive care by using traditional forms of identification. We recommend palm vein scanning because of the extra safety and security it provides.