Fulcrum Biometrics has developed and deployed a customised patient identification solution for the New Tribes Mission Medical Clinic in Papua New Guinea.
The system, which is based on Fulcrum's FbF Demographica biometric identification application and customised with the FbF modular development framework, uses an M-Series multispectral fingerprint reader from Lumidigm. The unique imaging capabilities of Lumidigm's biometric sensors allow the clinic to accurately identify people who come into the clinic for healthcare services even if their fingerprints are worn or damaged — a common characteristic of the demographic.
The New Tribes Mission (NTM) Medical Clinic serves a vital role in providing medical care and pharmacy services for several thousand local citizens as well as roughly a thousand missionaries and other expatriates living in Papua New Guinea. Since its inception, the clinic had been struggling to keep accurate medical records due to difficulty in accurately identifying their repeat patients. In a culture with hundreds of different indigenous languages and where people often have no form of ID and many are not able to read, write or sign their names, biometrics provides a fast and reliable form of identification.
Using the modular Fulcrum Biometric Framework (FbF), Fulcrum was able to quickly customise the FbF Demographica biometric identification system to provide NTM with a fast, accurate and easy way to register patients in the clinic and ensure that each individual's medical records are always associated with his or her proper identity. The application is browser-based and operates on a standard desktop PC running a Windows OS. The Lumidigm M-Series multispectral fingerprint reader is used for capturing and identifying fingerprints. Once a patient is enrolled in the system, on each subsequent visit to the clinic he or she can sign in by presenting four fingerprints to the scanner. The system immediately pulls up the patient's identification record along with the patient's photograph and the receptionist verifies that the record matches the patient.
Because so many residents live and work in challenging physical conditions, their fingerprints can become damaged or worn over time. The Lumidigm device is particularly useful in scanning difficult-to-read fingerprints because it reads not only the surface print but also the subsurface print. The environment can also play a role in hampering the capture of a good fingerprint image on conventional sensors. However, very dry or wet conditions do not affect the ability of the Lumidigm M-Series to read fingerprints.
The patented multispectral approach available only in Lumidigm's sensors is designed to return a great image every time. This biometric performance allows NTM to efficiently manage patients' records, reduce costs associated with duplicate records and service, and ensure continuity of service.
"The fingerprint scanner has been a tremendous help in identifying patients," said Dr. Kevin Ludwig, Chief Medical Officer for the New Tribes Mission Medical Clinic. "Biometrics provides the best means of certain identification."
The new system has dramatically reduced the time required to ensure accurate identification of patients. It is much easier and less stressful for the patients to use and it has been well-received by both the NTM clinic staff and the local population.