QR codes could save lives

Opinions on QR codes range from neat to useless, but a start-up called Lifesquare is hoping to harness their power to save lives. As part of a year long pilot program, emergency services in Marin County, California will be using QR codes to quickly access patient's medical information.

Lifesquare is asking residents to store information about their medical conditions on its website, which would link them to a QR sticker first responders could use to access important information. The stickers are being distributed by CVS pharmacies. Emergency works will scan the codes with around 50 iPhones purchased by the county.

“It could benefit so many folks,” Mike Giannini, EMS Battalion Chief at the Marin County Fire Department said, comparing it to the county's own 'Vials of L.I.F.E.' project, which asked residences to keep a list of the medications they were taking in their refrigerator.

Others are worried about the privacy implications involved, and Lifesquare told IDG that that was the first problem they'll have to address. “They way we look at it,” Ryan Chamberlain, Lifesquare's director of public outreach, says, “is that people already put their information into their driver's license, that's owned by the government, people put their information into credit card company's and that's owned by private corporations.”

Lifesquare, he says, is different. “Here you own it, you put it into your own profile and nobody else touches it.” If they're able to keep people from associating their service with a dystopian future where everyone has a barcode tattooed to their neck at birth, they just might save a few lives.

Source: IDG/PC World | Image via Lifesquare

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What if you're injured and it's dark outside, but luckily a qualified medical practitioner happens to walk by to help you, but under low lighting their phone can't scan the QR code?

em_te said,
What if you're injured and it's dark outside, but luckily a qualified medical practitioner happens to walk by to help you, but under low lighting their phone can't scan the QR code?

Flash

What a load of ****ing **** this really is, we've got charities in this country (medic alert) and companies charging exoberant fees pretending to be charities that sell bracelets and necklaces with medical details on. What's going to work better, a necklace/bracelet with WRITING you can UNDERSTAND and potentially 'Phone for virtal details' or a bloody QR code that no-one without a reader can understand which would require a phone that works, the camera to be working, enough battery to be there, and a working internet connection!
What a load of utter tosh!

In Belgium we've had digital health insurance cards for years, I can't remember ever not having one and I'm 20. Since 1998 you are obliged to have it on you at all times. Every single Belgian has one since health insurance is mandatory. They're linked to all sorts of medical profiles and can be used to get medical details in hospitals very easily.

Looks like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.../commons/7/7d/SIS_kaart.jpg

Ambroos said,
In Belgium we've had digital health insurance cards for years, I can't remember ever not having one and I'm 20. Since 1998 you are obliged to have it on you at all times. Every single Belgian has one since health insurance is mandatory. They're linked to all sorts of medical profiles and can be used to get medical details in hospitals very easily.

Looks like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.../commons/7/7d/SIS_kaart.jpg

I think there were going to try this in UK but there was of course people complaining about privacy I don't know if that's what stopped them trying it or it was a money problem. I would definitely sign up if they brought out an opt in scheme.

This may sound odd... But why not just have a slip of paper with your conditions in English? This way people don't need a silly reader to know what you need? >.>

Magallanes said,
Big Brother never gives up.

It is not about a "big brother" situation - it is about saving a life. Hell instead of wallet how about a small tat applied to a area on the skin shortly after birth.

sava700 said,

It is not about a "big brother" situation - it is about saving a life. Hell instead of wallet how about a small tat applied to a area on the skin shortly after birth.

That's exactly the reason things like this have a problem. If barcode tattoo's don't scream Big Brother, what does?

THolman said,

That's exactly the reason things like this have a problem. If barcode tattoo's don't scream Big Brother, what does?

You assume it's big brother-esque because it must have a nefarious tracking motive behind it but what if it doesn't? It's purely meant to highlight and provide medical staff with the best information to treat you. I see this as nothing more than a more comprehensive and reliable form of medical bracelets/tags. Life isn't a movie, just because it rings similar to dystopic movies doesn't mean it's big brother incarnate.

Hollow.Droid said,

You assume it's big brother-esque because it must have a nefarious tracking motive behind it but what if it doesn't? It's purely meant to highlight and provide medical staff with the best information to treat you. I see this as nothing more than a more comprehensive and reliable form of medical bracelets/tags. Life isn't a movie, just because it rings similar to dystopic movies doesn't mean it's big brother incarnate.

Because at some point, like everything else, big brother won't start messing around in it also. 15 years ago people weren't thinking "oh, lets make a device everyone will carry on them in order for the government to more effectively track people". Look at us now. Same goes for every computer and the internet.

At some point the government will say "this is useful to us for X purpose" or just scream 9/11 and terrorists. You'll eat it up like a fat kid in a candy store. Ignorance must really be bliss.

Hollow.Droid said,

You assume it's big brother-esque because it must have a nefarious tracking motive behind it but what if it doesn't? It's purely meant to highlight and provide medical staff with the best information to treat you. I see this as nothing more than a more comprehensive and reliable form of medical bracelets/tags. Life isn't a movie, just because it rings similar to dystopic movies doesn't mean it's big brother incarnate.

Wasn't really tracking I had in mind, just that the whole concept of forced tattooing puts off one really bad vibes. If its really something that saves lives, intelligent people will do it voluntarily. The less you're forced to do, the better.

Why not just create QR codes for the combinations of meds and conditions and then go from there?
As in: anonymously.

So you'll link to "pattern 356334" instead of your profile.
Sure you'd have to re-print the code every time you add meds or conditions, but I think that'd be worth it when you take into consideration that your identity is only linked to those info bits from your already very sensible and protected (as in you watch closer to keeping your wallet safe than other things like a bracelet etc...) wallet.
So: People already accepted wallets as a hub of sensibility you carry around with you, because it's its concept.

GS:mac