Dartmouth College researchers are working on a biometric bracelet that would match data from medical devices such as blood pressure cuffs and remote heart monitors to the correct electronic health record.
The bracelets could help make it easier to keep patient identities straight, an issue recently raised by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The technique matches a person's unique physiologic response to a weak signal as it travels through tissues--known as bioimpedance. The individual markers are possible because each person's wrist has its own jumble of bone, flesh and blood vessels.
Computer scientist Cory Cornelius presented his work at the Usenix Advanced Computing System Association workshop in Bellevue, Wash., on Monday. He and his team first tested the idea on themselves, then on 46 volunteers. When the volunteers were divided in family-size groups of two to five, the technology could accurately match them 85 percent of the time. Accuracy rose to 90 percent when the bracelets were used with a simple wrist-circumference measurement, reports Technology Review.
The bracelets could detect other health-monitoring devices, recognize those on the same body and share information securely, according to Nextgov, though medical devices increasingly are vulnerable to hacking.
Ari Juels, chief scientist at RSA Laboratories in Cambridge, Mass., told Technology Review, though, that the false acceptance and false rejection rates were too weak to make use of bioimpedance practical.
The growing use of remote monitoring has scientists and inventors creating a wild array of devices. At January's Consumer Electronics Show, tech company Valencell demonstrated ear buds that record heart rate, respiration, metabolic rates, calories burned, speed, cardiovascular endurance and more.
What's more, University of Arkansas researchers have created a small monitoring unit for a bra or T-shirt that collects data on blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption.