Let's face it: a medical ID bracelet really doesn't answer all the questions someone would need to ask if they found you unconscious in an emergency. But clearly, no one wants to schlep around a binder-full of medical history when they work out or travel. A number of new tech gadgets are being developed to meet this need, including USB sticks that store your med records, and "smart" med ID jewelry.
The latest addition to this genre is a new gadget called the LifeGuard30, from ViVre Medical out of Portsmouth, VA. Their product is a small keychain device designed to store and transport your emergency medical information for use at the scene of an accident or medical emergency. It differs from a USB-stick solution in that it has its own small screen, so your vital info is viewable and readable at a moment's notice, with no need to plug in to a PC. (See details on how it works here)
Users can purchase LifeGuard30 plans at either $7/month plus a one-time $29 fee for the device, or $84/year with no up-front cost. Two small keychain devices are sent to you (one as a back-up) which contain photo ID and personal information, medications, allergies, medical conditions, and emergency contacts. They are battery-powered, and the batteries are designed to last two years.
Along with the devices you also receive a wallet ID card, decals for your car and house, a standard-issue medical ID bracelet from LifeGuard (which you may or may not choose to wear...), and access to customer service reps for both yourself and any Emergency Service responders who may be taking care of you.
Still curious about how the system works, I asked ViVre Medical's Marketing Director, Jennifer O'Neal, to fill me in on some of the details:
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DBMine) We all worry about the wrong person getting ahold of a device like this, with all our sensitive information stored on it. How can you guarantee privacy protection?
JO) LifeGuard30 does not store any information that can compromise a person's identity. There is a photo for visual confirmation that the device belongs to the patient being treated. There is also just a last name rather than a full name. The device also doesn't store a SSN, personal phone number or address of the person the device belongs to.
How likely is it that EMS responders will know to use the program?
We have trained thousands of EMS professionals in all 50 states, but even if the device finds itself in the hands of someone who has never been trained, there are very easy to follow step-by-step instructions listed right on the device. EMS are also trained to look for visual cues, which is why we also offer several along with the LifeGuard30 system: the ID bracelet, stickers for home and auto, and wallet ID card, in addition to the device itself.
Why do you charge monthly or annual fee for service? Isn't the information stored directly on the device?
The monthly fee is for the LifeSupport element of the LifeGuard30 system. This provides 24/7 access to your medical information via phone (live operators), text messaging, and/or the Internet in the event that your LG30 device is missing or damaged.
Where do you recommend people keep LifeGuard30?
The LifeGuard30 device should be kept on your person at all times. Many of our customers keep the device on a key chain or in a purse. Children keep them attached to a backpack.
Hmm, what do you all think? Especially those of you who refuse to wear medical ID jewelry — Would this gadget be an option?
btw, if anyone has another idea for a medical ID bracelet replacement, please submit it to this year's DiabetesMine Design Challenge - for a chance to win $7,000 and more!