Investigating Technology to Support Biometric Patient Identification and Medication Administration in the Correctional Environment, 10-R9750

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Principal Investigators
Sean C. Mitchem
Kelly Jackson
Nathan A. Price

Inclusive Dates:  09/24/07 – 01/23/08

Background - Technology is becoming more commonplace within the correctional setting as a means of providing accurate and cost-effective healthcare to the growing prison population. Healthcare encounters in corrections are a hybrid of outpatient and inpatient models, where most care is provided much like an outpatient setting, but security requires that some care be administered using inpatient-like practices. This research looked at the use of biometrics to identify patients within the correctional setting, and the development of a proof-of-concept for performing and recording medication administration cell-side using Personal Digital Assistants (PDA).

Approach - This project surveyed typical methods of biometric identification and the tools and usages for recording biometrics. This information was then related to the correctional setting to determine whether there were feasible methods for using biometrics within the correctional environment. Biometric methods surveyed included:

  • Fingerprint analysis
  • Retinal scanning
  • Iris scanning
  • Facial scanning
  • Voice recognition
  • Hand geometry

Additionally – and primarily – this project focused on the development of a medical administration proof-of-concept application that could be placed on a PDA. This would allow for the synchronizing of information with an Electronic Medical Record prior to a nursing round to identify patients needing medications and after a round to record those doses given. The proof-of-concept also identified the advantages between two competitor PDA development systems: those that are based on Windows Mobile technology, and those that are based on Java 2 Mobile Edition.

Accomplishments - Biometric identity solutions were identified, researched, and evaluated for use in medical encounters within the correctional setting. Proof-of-concepts were developed for three mobile platforms. These proofs were demonstrated to a representative user group at the Salt Lake County Jail, Salt Lake City, Utah, resulting in feedback that was very favorable in the applicability of using the technology within a jail or prison environment.

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