New QR Codes Tell Paramedics Your Medical Info
One U.S. county is testing emergency QR codes that paramedics could scan to get people's medical information.
Marin County in California is testing a quick response (QR) code that automatically links paramedics to a profile showing people's allergies, medications, emergency contacts and any other medical information they want to share. The pilot study is still in its early stages, but the Marin County Fire Department says it's going well.
The smartphone-scannable QR codes could save paramedics time during an emergency, Mike Giannini, a Marin County Fire Department spokesman, told Government Technology. The codes could also convey important information while a patient is unconscious or confused, said Ryan Chamberlain, a spokesman for the company that makes the codes, Lifesquare.
Any Marin County resident who wants a code creates a profile with Lifesquare. The company then sends a free batch of stickers to the resident. Residents can stick their codes on their fridges, wallets, backpacks and bike helmets. Residents are also able to update their medical information online. Lifesquare donated 50 iPhones to the Marin County Fire Department, to scan patients' QR codes.
As of August, 1,100 residents have signed up, Government Technology reported.
The next step for the system is to have a QR scan automatically upload a patient's profile into his electronic medical record. Marin County has finalized a contract with an electronic records company, but the records aren't up and running yet.
Giannini envisioned that once Lifesquare and Marin County's electronic medical records are synced, they'll reduce errors by paramedics copying down data by hand. "You don't have people trying to write out a long form of medications, prescriptions and medicine names, or misspelling a person's name and things like that," he said.
One major detail Lifesquare may still need to work out: In June, the company told American Public Media's Marketplace that it didn't know who would pay for the system, once it's out of test phase and in the field.