Hundreds of people who flocked the recent Vision Group health camp were amazed by the unique way in which their biodata and medical history was being captured and stored at the Aga Khan University Hospital tent.
The hospital used a new technology involving scanning a patient’s eyes (particularly the irises) before their data was entered in a database. The iris is the part of the eye that surrounds the pupil.
Andreas Flensborg, the executive director of Unumed, the company that is managing the technology, said they use a gadget referred to as an iris scanner in addition to a tablet.
After a patient’s irises are scanned, the information is stored in the iris scanning registry with other details about the person and their medical history in a database.
Flensborg added that this information can be retrieved as soon as a person’s irises are scanned again on subsequent visits.
Matha Osiro, the Kampala Centre manager for Aga Khan Hospital, said the iris scanner is a better way of keeping and retrieving medical records. She explained that it saves patients from having to move around with their medical cards or having to remember their hospital numbers whenever they go to hospital.
Osiro noted that sometimes, patients are not in position to remember any information, for example in incidents when the patient is critically ill or unconscious.
She also added that the technology will make it easier for them to follow up on patients at subsequent camps in future.
Osiro explained that the Aga Khan Hospital has been participated in several health camps, but it has been difficult for them to follow-up on patients who attend the camps. But with this new technology, patients who come back for subsequent camps will not have to carry bulky records, nor scratch their heads trying to remember what their past records were.
The iris scanner will help to identify patients and retrieve their data from the data base. As soon as a person’s irises are scanned, all the information that was previously recorded about them comes on a screen and therefore, a patient cannot get lost in the system.
Flensborg noted that the iris scanning registry was a more reliable way of storing and retrieving data, adding that it could go a long way in enabling research by scientists.
He added that this method is also more reliable than using finger prints because a person’s fingerprints change with time due to age and trauma whereas the iris does not change.