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Newborn security
LRGH at forefront of technology for protecting babies

05/11/17
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia has adopted a new technology that will help protect newborns from abduction by using the same high-resolution imaging that’s used for fingerprinting to scan their feet. 

“This is relatively very new. Traditionally, nurses in hospitals have used ink to ink a baby’s foot and must make a mirror footprint on a piece of paper that is primarily used as a keepsake for the mother,” said Bill Losefsky, the chief of security services at LRGH.
He said the ink prints or inkless paper methods don’t provide law enforcement with any identifying features. But the CertaScan can be used with the same reliability as fingerprints.
“It was determined that a baby’s footprint has ridges and loops and arches and whorls just like a fingerprint does and is unique to that individual,” Losefsky said.
In fact, the footprint’s identifying characteristics remain the same throughout the lifespan of the individual. So the scanned footprint may prove useful for cases even 80 years after a baby is born, according to Maureen Cassidy, the director of the family birthplace at LRGH.
Cassidy said a foot scan taken at birth can be used to locate a senior with dementia who wandered off, for example. 
LRGH is the first and only hospital in the state to use this technology, according to Losefsky. Spokespeople at Catholic Medical Center and Elliot Hospital in Manchester say they have not looked into the biometric scanning method yet.
Lauren Collins-Cline at CMC said the team at Mom’s Place is always on the lookout for new ways to ensure the health and safety of its patients.
Nicole Pendenza, the director of maternity services at CMC, said in an email that evidence has shown that ink prints have proven inadequate for identification, and they’re looking into the new scanning technology.
“We are excited about the new technology that may be available to us in the near future,” Pendenza said.
Cassidy said she hopes other hospitals adopt this technology.
“If we can start here, at Lakes Region … a small little hospital, and put these things in place and show other hospitals this is what you should be doing, then that is our obligation to our patients and to the community,” Cassidy said.
For now, foot scanning at LRGH is only available to infants born in their maternity unit. 
At first, Cassidy said, she was concerned about patient privacy and making sure the hospital complies with federal health care privacy laws, but she was convinced that the encryption in the company’s cloud server makes the biometric data and identifying information safe from hacking.
“The failsafes that they have in place [to] ensure for us the safety of our patients, it’s just top notch,” Cassidy said.
Losefsky said LRGH is also the only hospital in the state with a Wi-Fi tracking system for new mothers and babies.
In most American hospitals, when a baby is abducted from its birthing unit, the building goes into a sort of lockdown mode called Code Pink. Staff throughout the hospital stand at every possible exit in the hopes of catching a would-be abductor. 
“Once the baby leaves the unit, it’s a controlled Easter egg hunt,” Losefsky said.
LRGH can go beyond that by using short-range Wi-Fi transponders in the baby’s and mother’s wrist bands that can pinpoint their locations even as far as the parking lot. 





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