Unique Identifiers in Resource-Limited Settings
I volunteer with a clinic in rural India and we have had issues in providing continuity of care to the patients that we see. Our current medical record system consists of a paper card that the patients are instructed to bring with them when they come back for further care. This works reasonably well when they remember to bring the card with them, but we have many individuals who chronically forget. I have played with the idea of using an EMR like OpenMRS to help us solve this problem, but we are also in an area where addresses, government-issued ID numbers, or other unique identifiers are either non-existent or unreliable and there are many people with the same name in our patient population. Age is also notoriously unreliable. I have thought of trying to use biometric identifiers like fingerprints to help with our dilemma, but I don't know anything about the mechanics of doing this. I know our circumstance is not unique, so any suggestions on ways to address this would be greatly appreciated.
Medical Student (M1), Mayo Medical School