The growing interest in “extreme sports” and adventure tourism is driving a growth in the number of suppliers providing kits and gadgets to those so inclined.
A recent innovation is the use of a USB key drive that can be worn securely around the neck or wrist containing your medical data. The idea is that if you need treatment you visit the local clinic, hand over your USB drive, key in your password and they have access to whatever medical data you decided to store.
From one perspective this is a terrific idea.
For those with complex conditions that may require special management having access to allergy data, X rays, pathology reports and the like could easily be a life saver.
Some of these devices have a section on the drive that is unencrypted and contains basic medical and personal data which can be accessed if you are unable to enter your password.
In reality having medical data strung around your neck is not a new idea – SOS Talisman have had a very successful system for decades.
So what is the downside? Well, it is pretty obvious in this day and age with the prevalence of identity theft ,running off with somebody’s complete medical history can be a gold mine if you are that way inclined.
Patient confidentiality is a big deal in the medical world and many doctors have been sacked for accidentally (or deliberately) revealing patient medical data.
So yet again consumers are faced with a tough choice. Personally if I had a medical condition that was out of the ordinary I would be tempted to go for one of these. But then again, if you were that far from help what are the chances that there would be a working PC in that location able to read the USB data in the first place? Also, if I was that medically challenged would I really want to travel so far from help I needed to keep my own records on a key drive.
Then again, looking at the state of the NHS IT program maybe we are all best getting one of these devices and having our medical data available around our necks at home…