Your life on a USB Key Drive?

Written By:
Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.
Also posted on: Nigel Stanley

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

So what is the downside? Well, it is pretty obvious in this day
and age with the prevalence of ID 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…