How Baton Rouge General Medical Center improved patient safety with Imprivata PatientSecure

Key facts

Industry: Healthcare

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Industry Beds: 590

HIS/EMR: McKesson Paragon


  • A legacy patient identification system prone to producing duplicate medical records and overlays


  • 20% reduction in duplicate medical records
  • Faster patient access to critical care. Unresponsive returning patients identified within 3-5 minutes of their arrival in the ER
  • High patient acceptance
  • Improved patient safety


Baton Rouge General Medical Center differentiates itself from other hospitals in Louisiana by fostering a patient-first culture of compassion. Baton Rouge’s vision is to heal, lead, and inspire communities to live the healthiest lives possible by providing exceptional experiences with caring, excellence, service, and integrity. To uphold these values, and further develop Baton Rouge’s dedication to using technology to improve their patients’ experiences, Baton Rouge’s leadership set forth to improve their patient identification system.

Baton Rouge’s legacy patient identification system, like many hospitals’, relied on manual registration processes that required patients to share sensitive personal information with Registrar staff during each hospital visit. Such systems, though widely popular within the healthcare industry, can pose significant threats to patient safety. Small transcription mistakes or slight differences in naming conventions can create serious patient identification errors. A simple name misspelling can match a patient with the wrong patient record, link a patient to incorrect insurance information, or create a new, incomplete patient record for a returning patient. The most common forms of patient identification errors are:

  • Duplicate medical records
    Duplicate medical records occur when a single patient is associated with more than one medical record. Oftentimes, duplicate medical records are partial duplicates that only capture a portion of a patient’s medical history. The AHIMA reports that the average duplicate medical record rate is between 8 and 12 percent.
  • Overlays
    Overlays occur when one patient’s record is overwritten with data from another patient’s record, creating a combined, inaccurate record. Studies show that 7-10% of patients are misidentified during medical record searches and that 6% of identification errors result in an adverse event.

These types of patient identification mistakes can result in serious medical errors and elongated, highly complex billing processes. Baton Rouge measured their duplicate medical record at 4.8%. Through an internal process involving new staff training techniques and an investment in two new full time employees tasked with manually cleansing patient data databases, Baton Rouge reduced their duplicate medical record rate to 2.8%. Though significant, Baton Rouge’s leadership wanted to reduce their error statistics even further by intervening at the source of their patient error problem: the registration process. Manual data cleansing was helping to reduce Baton Rouge’s duplicate medical rate, but it wasn’t treating the root cause of their patient identification problem. To provide the most effective care and the best standards of safety, customer service, and master patient index integrity, Baton Rouge launched a search for a technological solution to minimize the likelihood of patient identification errors being created during the registration process.


Baton Rouge selected Imprivata PatientSecure to improve the safety, efficacy, and user-friendliness of their patient identification system. Imprivata PatientSecure is a positive patient identification solution that uses palm vein biometric technology to accurately and securely identify patients and retrieve their digital health records across multiple clinical systems at any entry point of care. Imprivata PatientSecure creates a 1:1 match between patients’ unique palm vein scans and their individual medical records and integrates directly with existing EMR, EMPI, HIS, and ADT systems.

Douglas C. Burket, Senior Systems Analyst at Baton Rouge, was familiar with the benefits Imprivata PatientSecure offered, so he proactively requested that Baton Rouge’s EMR, McKesson Paragon, integrate with Imprivata PatientSecure. Imprivata and McKesson Paragon complied with Burket’s request and worked collaboratively to provide comprehensive integration for Baton Rouge and other McKesson Paragon customers. “I cannot say enough good things about the Imprivata PatientSecure and McKesson development teams that I worked with” says Burket, “it was a pleasure working on this project and it resulted in a great end result.”

Flexible integration and customization was one of the main differentiators of Imprivata PatientSecure for Baton Rouge. The ability to integrate with multiple HIS systems provided the interoperability that Baton Rouge needed to succeed with their new patient identification efforts. “One of the very attractive features of Imprivata PatientSecure is that once patients are enrolled in either the Practice Plus system in our clinics or the Paragon system in our hospital, their records are immediately available in all our systems at any location within our network” says Burket. This powerful integration ensured a quick and clean roll out process, making it even easier for Baton Rouge to drive adoption and realize the patient safety benefits palm vein technology offers.

How Imprivata PatientSecure works
Palm vein recognition technology offers a powerful, user-friendly solution to patient identification problems. Each patient’s palm vein pattern is unique and stable over their lifetime, making palm vein recognition technology an ideal method for accurately identifying patients across a wide range of demographics. By creating a 1:1 match between patients’ palm vein scans and individual medical records, Imprivata PatientSecure avoids the manual transcription and search processes that create duplicate medical records and overlays. Palm vein recognition technology also has a high patient success and adoption rate. Patients appreciate the non-intrusive palm scanning process that does not require them to share their SSN or other sensitive information with Registrar staff.


Duplicate medical record reduction
In the first 6 months after implementing Imprivata PatientSecure, Baton Rouge achieved a 20% reduction in their duplicate medical records rate and significantly improved their Registrar education process to reduce the likelihood of patient identification errors and insurance fraud.

High patient acceptance rates and positive feedback
According to Burket, palm vein recognition was the best option for Baton Rouge, from a patient acceptance standpoint. “We did a lot of research evaluating biometric solutions and found that patients markedly prefer palm vein scans over other biometric options because it’s non-invasive, non-threatening, and intuitive. We have an exceptionally high patient acceptance rate due to the user-friendly nature of the palm vein scanners, and most of our patients see palm vein technology as a positive differentiator that demonstrates our commitment to customer service, patient safety, and patient privacy.”

Improved patient safety
Imprivata PatientSecure vastly expedites critical patient care in accident and emergency scenarios. Imprivata PatientSecure enables Baton Rouge to identify returning patients coming into ER in an ambulance unconscious, non-responsive, and with no identification within 3 to 5 minutes of their arrival. “Sometimes our patients come into the hospital and we can’t get their names right away” says Bennett Cheramie, Vice President of Information Technology at Baton Rouge, “by getting their palm vein scan we can access all their medical record information to treat them effectively. Without our biometric solution, we may have to wait a number of days before the patient recovers and is able to give us their patient information. With Imprivata PatientSecure, we don’t have to wait – we can treat our patients quickly and safely.”