As the pandemic presses on, the media and the public observe the sobering daily reports of COVID-19 infection rates and deaths across the nation and beyond. Grim pictures of frontline workers and ailing patients often accompany these graphs and numbers.
These unflinching depictions of pandemic-era hospitalizations indicate a great need for rapid change in our healthcare system.
Keyo is among the many tech companies working to provide innovations that significantly improve the safety and security of everyone. We’re proud to announce that our latest product, the Keyo Base, is being used in hospitals right now and reduces a common (now dangerous) touchpoint in healthcare workflow: patient identification.
What is the Keyo Base?
The Keyo Base is a contactless, EPA-approved, copper-alloy coated, biometric identification device. It authenticates users in less than .2 seconds through palm-vein mapping.
Keyo Base enrolls a user by converting the five million data points of a person’s palm vein structure into an encrypted biometric ID. After enrollment, when the person holds their hand above the device, Keyo Base reads their biometric ID and identifies them.
Keyo COO Delna Straus explains the brilliant security of palm vein biometrics:
“Since your palm vein pattern is internal to your body, it can never be copied or taken without your consent. This means your personal data is kept entirely in your hands.”
The double meaning of the latter statement is intentional: Keyo’s privacy philosophy is firmly grounded in the belief that each person has the right to protect and control where their biometric data goes, how it’s stored, and who has access to it.
Keyo Base makes patient identification seamless and hygienic
We developed this device to fit into the healthcare workflow while enhancing safety for all users.
Keyo Base’s critical features:
- Supports sanitary touch-guided usage for users with limited dexterity or tremors.
- Built-in finger-holds for occasional handheld use by an attendant or operator.
- Supports touchless scanning via a hover or the slow wave of the palm.
- Designed to be directly connected via USB cable to a workstation running compatible software.
- Uses bacteria-killing, proprietary copper alloy on the touch guide*
Keyo and Imprivata partnered on a contactless healthcare innovation
Keyo launched the Keyo Base in partnership with Imprivata, the leading digital identity company for healthcare. Our palm-scanning device is designed to aid the COVID-19 healthcare response, offering security, safety, and a new level of hygiene for patient identification.
Gus Malezis, CEO of Imprivata:
"Imprivata PatientSecure addresses COVID-19 and other patient safety concerns through a safe and easy-to-use tool that securely matches patients to their own health records – one that does not require patient contact.”
Frontline workers bear complicated burdens during the pandemic
Healthcare workers (HCWs) face public ostracizing due to fear they'll transmit COVID to their communities.
Dr. Monalisa Muchatuta, an emergency room physician in New York City, told Healthline, “That she is troubled by what she believes is a shifting public attitude toward her and her fellow healthcare workers.”
Dr. Jodi Richardson, an emergency room physician at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., who’s also on the COVID-19 front lines, concurs with Muchatuta: “It’s a slap in the face as a frontline person. It feels like my life is becoming defined by this.”
HCWs are experiencing high levels of burnout and stress.
From June to September 2020, Mental Health America, a community-based non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of those with mental illness and promoting overall mental health, sent out a public survey to healthcare workers.
The survey found the following:
HCWs are stressed out and stretched too thin.
93% of health care workers were experiencing stress, 86% reported experiencing anxiety, 77% reported frustration, 76% reported exhaustion and burnout, and 75% said they were overwhelmed.
HCWs are worried about exposing loved ones.
76% of healthcare workers with children reported that they were worried about exposing their child to COVID-19, nearly half were worried about exposing their spouse or partner, and 47% were worried that they would expose their older adult family member(s).
Nurses are suffering the most.
According to an LA Times article this past fall:
“Researchers scoured a sample of 6,760 adults hospitalized for COVID-19 between March 1 and May 31 and found that 5.9% of those patients were healthcare workers. Just over two-thirds of them were in jobs where they would likely have direct contact with patients — especially nursing.”
This trend has not let up since last spring, as evidenced by other studies and findings.
Even an early January 2021 report from the L.A. County Department of Health corroborated past data. Nurses counted for 31% of L.A. County HCWs who tested positive for COVID-19, nearly five times more than other healthcare roles. They counted for 38.6% of COVID-19 related deaths, by far the largest percentage out of any other health-related occupations.
The future of innovative healthcare
Since the onset of the pandemic, patients and clinicians alike are getting accustomed to new ways of doing care with contactless experiences. Telemedicine has become the common-sense tool to replace non-urgent visits. Contactless payment methods are increasing in hospital settings. Even A.I. chatbots are assisting patients with prescription refills and various requests.
Keyo Base currently offers just touchless patient identification as a way of mitigating virus and disease transmission in hospitals. However, moving forward Keyo is working on a line of devices that comes with a set of core apps and will have API/SDK support for companies to build their own apps in the Keyo ecosystem, enabling them to leverage biometric identity with simple-to-use devices.
These upcoming biometric solutions will reduce multiple touchpoints in hospitals, allowing healthcare providers to do their life-saving work with less stress and life endangerment.
Our mission is to help transform hospitals and all healthcare facilities into safer, smarter, and smoother places to give and receive care. We intend for the future iteration of the Keyo Base to directly address the issues frontline workers are facing: stigmatization, fear, burnout, and health threats, as well as provide a better experience for patients.
*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.