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PalmSecure is the world's first implementation of biometric palm vein authentication for access of electronic medical records developed by IBM and Fujitsu. It was first implemented at the Hospital for Charged Particle Therapy at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in Japan in February 2007.


Data security and identity management in healthcare has never been more critical. With the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical organizations are now required to use two forms or more of authentication in order to access electronic health records and other sensitive data. An accurate patient identification system will not only help organizations combat medical identity theft but will help reduce medical errors associated with patient identification. As healthcare organizations employ more automated clinical workflows and information sharing across departments, employee identification at each point of access plays an important role in ensuring the operational efficiency while complying with regulations.

The Fujitsu PalmSecure device is a logical solution for these situations. Because this innovative technology is difficult to forge and highly secure, healthcare systems are provided with an extra layer of necessary protection while ensuring an easy user interface suitable for the healthcare work environment.

Palm vein identification is an unobtrusive and highly accurate technology, and the International Biometrics Group (IBG), which evaluates biometric products through comparative testing, found that palm vein technology competes well with iris scanning technology in accuracy, and demonstrated extremely low occurrences of both false positive and false negative readings. It utilizes no trace technology which leaves virtually no biometric footprint behind and therefore it is difficult to spoof, especially when compared with cheaper fingerprinting devices.

New technology

New technology helps organizations improve security and better manage compliance with healthcare, financial services and government regulations. The new offering aims to help companies bypass the hassles of managing multiple passwords for access to critical business information by enabling employees to scan their palms to verify their identities. By integrating the palm vein technology with IBM's single sign-on software, employees can securely access applications, files and websites with a single scan of their palm - eliminating the need to remember multiple passwords and the threats posed by those lost or stolen.

To log into operating electronic medical record system, the user inserts an integrated circuit (IC) smartcard in which the user's pre-registered palm vein pattern data has been registered, and holds his or her hand over the palm vein authentication sensor. The palm vein pattern obtained from the palm vein authentication sensor is then compared with the data read from the smartcard: if the patterns match, the user is granted access to the electronic medical record system.

Implementation in the US

In 2009, El Camino Hospital in Silicon Valley became one of the first hospitals in the United States to implement the PalmSecure biometric authentication system for patient registration (PalmSecure Biometric Authentication System, 2009). Every first-time patient has the option of registering using the system.

PalmSecure has been used to link patient directly to their unique medical record number and has been employed in an effort to reduce medical errors and protect patient from identity theft.

PalmSecure at ElCamino Hospital


  7. El Camino Hospital. PalmSecure Biometric Authentication System. (2009). Retrieved September 8, 2010, from