Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A Great Idea...But Make It Better

From C/Net Medicalert to arm patients with USB drives.

MedicAlert, best known for its health care information bracelets, plans to offer a USB device that stores personal medical records.

The nonprofit company unveiled the product Wednesday as part of this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. MedicAlert will begin selling the device, dubbed the Personal HealthKey, some time during the first half of 2005. The product will use a USB flash drive made by SanDisk and software from CapMed, a division of Bio-Imaging Technologies. The device will work with any USB-capable computer.

Much as the MedicAlert's trademark bracelets have become a routine part of the checklist used by health care workers to investigate a patient's medical history, MedicAlert is hoping that the USB (Universal Serial Bus) device will establish a ubiquitous presence within the industry. Like the bracelets, the Personal HealthKey catalogs an individual's health-related issues, such as chronic medical conditions or drug allergies. Unlike the bracelets, the new product will offer detailed medical information, not just alerts to one or two major conditions.

MedicAlert said the device will be of particular value to first responders such as paramedics and hospital physicians because they will be able to insert the USB drive into any computer and immediately gain access to an overview of a person's information. Updates to the health records stored on the device can be made by a patient and other people authorized by the person to do so, such as a physicians or pharmacists.

The first thing I think of is a 911 call and paramedics coming to the scene (house, road). I don't know what portable computer will be able to read that data. I also think of the other conditions (water, blood) and realize they will play a role too.

What if you could create a code of sorts on top of the bracelet so when scanned from ANY mobile device or PC the info could be extracted immediately.

Would there be a problem considering youre traveling through the Internet instead of a controlled environment like a USB device?

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