Imprivata acquires HT Systems, adding patient ID capabilities

Biometric technology will expand authentication capabilities beyond providers
By Mike Miliard
11:19 AM

Marking its entry into the patient identification market, health IT security company Imprivata has acquired Tampa, Fla.-based HT Systems, which develops technology for palm-vein-based biometric patient ID.

The addition of HT Systems' PatientSecure technology supports Imprivata's strategy to provide authentication tools for both providers and patients, Imprivata CEO Omar Hussain told Healthcare IT News.

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"It's just a natural extension of what we do today," said Hussain. "We're leaders in authentication and access management for providers, so the next step is authentication and access management for patients. This just made natural sense for us as we were expanding our market. It's always been part of our strategic framework and our vision to extend to patient identification."

HT Systems serves hospital systems and large medical groups nationwide. Its PatientSecure biometric ID system provides positive patient identification by distinguishing the vein pattern in a patient's hand and retrieving the correct medical record in the healthcare provider's electronic health record system at patient check-in. This improves patient safety and satisfaction, eliminates duplicate medical records and overlays, and guards against identity theft and insurance fraud, according to Imprivata.

[See also: CHIME antes $1M for patient matching]

PatientSecure has identified more than 22 million patients across 65 healthcare systems comprising more than 350 hospitals and thousands of clinics.

"We believe that in the next paradigm of healthcare, if you are going to have any meaningful patient engagement, being able to easily identify patients is going to be a critical component," said Hussain.

"The minute records become electronic, the biggest challenge you have is duplicates," he said. "When you have a marketing system or a CRM system, and you have 10 to 15 percent duplicates, it's not a big deal. What happens, someone gets mailed a copy of your publication twice?

"But with patient identification, you need to know who that patient is 100 percent of the time with 100 percent accuracy," said Hussain. "Patient authentication and identification is not only a privacy issue, but it's a safety issue: Am I making sure the right person is seeing the right records? Am I giving the right records to the right person?"

Technology such as PatientSecure "solves a lot of duplication issues, and once you know who the patient is, you can do a lot of things very quickly for them," he added. "It speeds enrollment. You eliminate fraud; you eliminate duplicate records. And you can extend this out three or five years, and you think about what patient identification will be, at the end of the day: You walk around with an ATM card and a pin, and you can access money from wherever you want. You can't do that in healthcare, right?

"If we are going to break down the barriers of interoperability between EHR systems, if we're going to keep information in the cloud, if I show up to a hospital in Miami and I happen to be living in Boston, and I'm having massive stomach pains or a heart attack, wouldn't it be great if they could just put my palm down and know it's exactly me they're getting information for from Mass. General?"

Imprivata paid approximately $19.1 million in cash at closing, officials say, and will pay up to $1.9 million in retention-based payments two years from closing plus up to $5.0 million based on achieving certain sales targets over the two-year period following the transaction.

"The PatientSecure solution has helped many hospitals address critical issues with patient identification and millions of patients safely register for care," said David Wiener, CEO of HT Systems, in a press statement. "By joining Imprivata, we have a tremendous opportunity to rapidly expand the development and adoption of the PatientSecure solution."

[See also: Imprivata lands NHS contract]

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