Swipe Cards for Front Desk

Posted on January 18, 2006 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

When implementing an EMR we really wanted the ability to pull up patient’s record with the swipe of the card. Not to mention being able to allow patient’s to check in using their card. I understand that this situation may be unique to a Student Health Center at a University since you know that each person has a university ID card. However, this was an important request for a College Health Center. Not to mention it illustrates a perfect example of a miscommunication that could occur during an EMR sales discussion.

In the discussion the EMR vendor was excited to point out the ability to be able to swipe a student ID card and pull up a patient’s account. Everyone was excited until we found out how the swipe worked. Basically it would match the strip on the card with one of the ID’s stored in the EMR. No problem, until we found out that the Student ID wasn’t actually what was encoded on the strip of the ID card. Instead it was some ISO number that was only used by the proprietary campus card reader system. We could have uploaded the ISO number instead of the Student ID, but then that complicates pulling up patients that don’t have a card and we really didn’t want to expose the ISO number to anyone. Oh the details of implementation.

I don’t think the EMR vendor lied or did anything wrong. It’s just that we didn’t ask the right questions or have the information we needed to understand what is really possible. To our vendor’s credit they have since implemented a hidden field in the database that can use our super secret ISO number.