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Using QR Codes To Save Lives

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the scan-me dept.

Medicine 171

itwbennett writes "Paramedics in Marin County, California, may soon be putting QR codes to lifesaving use. According to an IDG News Service report, 'Lifesquare, a Silicon Valley start-up, has partnered with two emergency response agencies in Marin County to run a year-long pilot program. Lifesquare wants residents to input personal information about their medications into its website, then place corresponding QR code stickers where emergency responders can scan them with an iPhone.' The first hurdle: Getting people to put the sensitive information online. 'The way that we look at 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,' said Ryan Chamberlain, director of public outreach at Lifesquare."

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How about printing the information on the sticker (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177281)

instead of printing a QR code there?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Informative)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177321)

instead of printing a QR code there?

You get better info density with QR. A QR can hold up to 4K.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (5, Insightful)

kwark (512736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177409)

4k should be enough to contain most information a paramedic might need (alergies, medication), esp. if that info is app generated (shortcodes, compression). There is absolutly no need to upload al this to an external party to have it downloaded again in an emergency, in effect adding a couple points of failure.

Just put the info in to QR.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177751)

Then everybody with a QR-code reader can get your info. Online database access can at least in theory be restricted to authorized people. Anyway, this whole idea is misguided. Machine readable information that isn't also human readable invariably falls out of sync with reality. Machine codes should only ever be used for things that never change or are scanned so frequently that wrong information can't last. The kind of information they want to put in these codes could just be printed in clear text. This is just one company trying to get into a middle-man position where no middle-man is needed.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Insightful)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177865)

Don't know about in the US, but in the UK we have allergy bracelets that lists all allergies that person has for such emergency purposes. Adding a QR code to digitize this information wouldn't be too terrible.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (4, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178025)

In North America, we have the MedicAlert system... bracelet or necklace that you can wear, it has a recognizable logo and on the other side a file number is engraved. Medical professionals need to call in and give the file number in order to get the information.

I prefer it, because it's actually engraved, so less likely to disappear. Correct me if I'm wrong, but engraving a QR code into metal would be a pain in the butt, and even if you could do it accurately enough, a cell phone camera wouldn't be good enough to read it....

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178529)

Laser engraver & ceramic paste.
Easy to do and a cell camera phone would be good enough to read...

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178555)

Emergency personel here in the US of A quite deliberately avoid looking for S.O.S. bracelets and similar. The reason being liability.
If they don't know about something, they can't be sued over it, but once they have established that there is information, they are liable for making the correct call based on that new information.

Everything about the US health system is based around CYA and money.
In other countries, you can be put in jail for not assisting someone in need to the best of your ability. Here, unless you have medical training and up-to-date paid-for certification papers, you're not protected by "good samaritan" laws, and both can and will get sued for helping. People will watch a person drown or bleed to death, knowing how to stop it, becuase the risk is too great that they'll get sued. Because whoever you save is likely going to have huge medical bills, and need to get them paid somehow.
It's insane.

I stopped wearing my S.O.S. bracelet after moving here, and hope to dog I won't ever need emergency aid. Cause they're likely to kill me with their ignorance, but that's okay in their view, as long as they don't risk getting sued.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177899)

Then everybody with a QR-code reader can get your info. Online database access can at least in theory be restricted to authorized people.

Couldn't the information the QR-code holds be encrypted with a private key?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177939)

What you mean is could it be encrypted with a public key so that only authorized people who have the private key can decrypt it. Yes, but everybody would have to use the same key. There's a snowball's chance in hell that the private key wouldn't leak.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177963)

Then everybody with a QR-code reader can get your info.

Uh, you mean everybody who has access to the sticker you're carrying. Kind of like how if they get access to my driver's license, social security card, passport, credit card, bank card, etc. they can get sensitive information from them.

I still don't see how "the few people who have physical access to my possessions" is even close to being in the same league as handing it over to some company to integrate into a database which will be accessed remotely by thousands of people.

This is just one company trying to get into a middle-man position where no middle-man is needed.

Agreed.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177985)

The example from the article: "scan a QR code on the patient's bike helmet"

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178155)

The example from the article: "scan a QR code on the patient's bike helmet"

Oh! That sounds like such a good idea...

foo: "Hey buddy, I need to go to the store. Can I borrow your bike?"
bar: "Sure. Got a helmet?"
foo: "No..."
bar: "No problem, you can borrow mine."

Later in the hospital...

baz M.D.: "Says here he's A rhesus positive with no known allergies..."

What could go wrong?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178041)

With the information held online and the QR just a link to the DB, the DB is as up to date as the last update by the patient. The patient link is static and can never change, so a QR is appropriate.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Insightful)

stderr_dk (902007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178189)

The patient link is static and can never change, so a QR is appropriate.

Yes, cause there's no such thing as areas without coverage, network errors, database failures, ...
And in case of large scale emergencies, the cellular network would never fail. NEVER!

I'll take plain text, thank you very much!

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178557)

The kind of information they want to put in these codes could just be printed in clear text. This is just one company trying to get into a middle-man position where no middle-man is needed.

Exactly. Or link it to a drivers license or state ID, there's no reason to have an extra sticker that emergency medical personal are trying to search for. I can just see them running around searching for a sticker.
EMT #1: Check his wallet
EMT #2: Not there
EMT #1: Where's the helmet?
EMT #2: I don't see it on there either
EMT #1: Well screw it, we can't spend all night searching for a sticker!

WE already have state IDs, why not just use those? Even children can get a state ID. [dmv.org] Put your ID number in a database and update that with medical information. Done. The irony here is on Lifesquare's website they have the EMT looking at the person's wallet and finding the sticker in the wallet. FAIL. [lifesquare.com]

And how is this going to be profitable? Are you going to charge users for the stickers? Maybe a monthly subscription fee? Good luck with that. Or the hospitals should all pay monthly? A project like this is too big for a tiny startup, this needs to be done on a state wide government scale to be successful at all.

But it looks like Lifesquare is available in Marin County, CA. [lifesquare.com] That's great, funding January 2011 and by June 2012 you have 1 county covered and only 3,140 counties to go. [usgs.gov]

Whenever I hear about these horrible startups I always wonder how much funding they've received. Unfortunately it doesn't say the amount, but it does say someone gave them venture funding for this really bad startup. [crunchbase.com]

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178027)

Yes but this would be and (open) standard and no one would make any money from it.
You would just go to an official website and get some pdf to print.

It could also have problems with poor generating and reading software implementations.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177471)

> A QR can hold up to 4K.

So why put the data in an online database at all? Compress it and print it directly on the QR. How many bits do you need to cover most prescribed meds? Plus a few more for dosage. It can be done without giving away your identity. Just like those life alert bracelets but with more info. You'd still need a server to decode it, but it will be anonymous.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177935)

I'd say that by having it as a reference to an online database it means that the person wearing the QR-tag doesn't need to do anything and only has to give permission for doctors, etc to submit the information directly on their behalf. The information can update without the QR code changing.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177495)

In this case the QR code points to information on a website, which can in turn hold an indefinite amount of information.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178121)

instead of printing a QR code there?

You get better info density with QR. A QR can hold up to 4K.

But why even bother with a QR code at all? It seems like using technology for technology's sake. What happens if the first medics on the scene don't have their phone handy to scan the code? Or if the information is stored online, what happens if they can scan it but can't get a network connection? Instant fail.

You get instant readability with plain text. Most people that I know who have the kind of medical issues that this would help with have already got a medicalert bracelet or something similar that gives the necessary information in an easily accessible way. It's recognised by emergency staff, and gives all the information needed instantly. A bracelet is also durable and less likely to be lost or damaged.

Using a printed/online QR code system for this is pointless, and has many dangerous regressions compared with existing systems.

How about printing a one use password. (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177363)

Or put in the sticker a password to decrypt the information that would be stored encripted in a database with a password protected too.

The paramedic could have his own QR code (in his "paramedic identification card", or whatever). Then:
1 - Paramedic connects to database.
2 - Paramedic takes a picture of your card to access.
3 - Paramedic takes a picture of the patients QR code to decrypt and download the data.
4 - Patient's password is automatically changed.
5 - System re-encrypts the patient's data with the new password.
6 - System sends the patient home healthy, data safe and with his new QR card password.

Re:How about printing a one use password. (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177423)

Look at the complexity of your solution, then the complexity of the GP's (assuming it's QR encoded, not printed text). A simple standard direct encoding of the information, potentially pubkey signed for verification, makes way more sense than dealing with all that other fluff.

Re:How about printing a one use password. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177513)

simple != better security against unwanted access.

You're both discussing different things.

A single static public key is a leak waiting to happen but it's convenient, simple to implement and doesn't rely on an internet connection and third party resources.
A "one-time use" system is a lot more difficult to implement and maintain but also protects against unwanted access to your medical data.

Re:How about printing a one use password. (4, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177643)

simple != better security against unwanted access.

Yeah, and the information printed right on the sticker provides both at once. I'm pretty baffled as to how a self-contained physical item in your wallet is somehow supposed to be less secure than collecting lots of data points on a net-connected server...

Re:How about printing a one use password. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177657)

Someone steals your wallet, now they have all of that information. If the information is encrypted in the database and the key is the QR code then the person who steals your wallet also needs access to the database. If access to the database is controlled, then you need to be a paramedic who steals wallets to compromise the system.

Re:How about printing a one use password. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178013)

How hard do you really think it is to get ahold of a single paramedic's phone? I can pretty much guarantee that there is at least 1 junky in every city who has an father/brother/uncle/cousin/etc that is a paramedic/doctor/nurse/etc.

Re:How about printing a one use password. (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178049)

Given the contents of the average wallet, the loss of the QR in your wallet isn't significant.

Re:How about printing a one use password. (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178031)

1 - Paramedic tries to connect to database.
2 - Paramedic tries again
3 - paramedic walks to other end of room and tries again.
4 - Paramedic holds it right.
5 - Paramedic takes a picture of your card to access.
6 - Paramedic's phone locks up
7 - Paramedic reboots phone
8 - Paramedic tries to reconnect to database.
9 - Paramedic tries again
10 - Paramedic walks to other end of room and tries again.
11 - Paramedic remembers to hold it right.
12 - Fuck it, he's dead.

- FTFY.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Gib7 (2445652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177373)

TMI?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177395)

That is basically what has been done for decades. You fill out a form with your medical info, slip it into a little plastic vile, and attach it to the underside of a rack in your refrigerator with a rubber band (so it should survive a fire) where the paramedics can easily find it. It's called the "vile of life."

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177435)

I forgot to mention that you normally put a sticker on the outside of the refrigerator so the paramedics know the vile of life is inside. So, you don't write your info on the sticker itself, where there would be limited space and the possibility of fire damage, but it's a similar idea -- the info is stored on location instead of on a website that you can't access without a smart phone and a cell phone signal.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177521)

How will this be any good when you need paramedic assistance outside your own house?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177745)

Yes, hanging a fridge from your neck can be a little uncomfortable and downright dangerous while swimming, but I agree it is more noticable than a pendant, bracelet, or sticker. The idea in TFA just inserts a middleman between the victim and the paramedic who expects payment for inconvienencing both. I predict that once this slashvesrtiment is off the front page we will hear no more of it (discounting the obligatory dupes).

BTW: The compressors found in fridges have a bad habit of exploding in a fire, often with enough force to blow a hole in the back and rip the door off it's hinges.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Funny)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177819)

Good news: Since you are unlikely to catch fire while swimming, you actually don't need the fridge while swimming unless you want to keep your beer cold.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (3, Funny)

WeatherForecast (2641681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178319)

While it may be unlikely that you will catch fire while swimming, you should always be prepared to catch fire while water-skiing. As proof, the latest ICD-10 codes are ready for just such an event:

V9107XA = "Burn due to water-skis on fire, initial encounter"

I kid you not. http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/documents/MEDICALCODES0911/#term=Water-skis [wsj.com]

Additionally, this problem has already been solved for a group of people more likely to truly "need" it, and who do use it. You can find it at http://roadid.com/ [roadid.com]

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177461)

What about when you have a medical emergency outside your home?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177509)

I don't remember that being addressed (I only happen to know about the vile of life because I distributed them for my Eagle project when I was in Boy Scouts decades ago), but you could presumably carry the info in your wallet/purse (which you might not keep on your body when you are in your home, and thus might be burned in a fire).

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177977)

I don't remember that being addressed (I only happen to know about the vile of life because I distributed them for my Eagle project when I was in Boy Scouts decades ago), but you could presumably carry the info in your wallet/purse (which you might not keep on your body when you are in your home, and thus might be burned in a fire).

Hint- Paramedics are not trained to look for this "vile" of life, or even a vial of life in your fridge. They have better things to do than rummage around in your disgusting kitchen, it'll be some cop poking through your medicine cabinet trying to determine cause of death who will find it.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178177)

In the UK we have medical bracelets, sometimes the information is also important to first aiders (say a severe allergy to cotton bandages?), so locking it all down too much is not a good idea.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177499)

How's the weather in Cordele these days? You're just off Blackshear Rd, aren't you?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177519)

I have no idea what you are talking about. Did you reply to the wrong post?

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177515)

slip it into a little plastic vile

Yuk, that sounds vial.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177527)

Sorry about the botched spelling. It's 4am here and my brain is tired.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177477)

With a QR code you don't need to change the sticker every time your medical information changes.

Re:How about printing the information on the stick (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177567)

Your emergency medical information does not change much really, we're not talking about your journal. Epilepsy, diabetes, allergies, heart condition, hemophilia and conditions like that are what an emergency paramedic needs to know, the rest not so much.

Cue the crazy religious and anti-government people (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177287)

I'm guessing at least a few christians will rant about this being "the mark of the beast" and a few tinfoil-hat types ranting about how this is the governments way of finding out things about you which they already knew...

Re:Cue the crazy religious and anti-government peo (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177547)

I'm betting at least one slashdotter will start posting pre-emptive strawman arguments too.

Re:Cue the crazy religious and anti-government peo (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177917)

Thing is, every time some new measure to identify and track anything related to people comes up there are a handful of xtian crazies who scream about it being "the mark of the beast" (I'm not saying ALL of them, I'm saying a handful) and how this is a sign of the end times and all that.

And in a similar vein a few of the wackier anti-government people always come out of the woodworks as well, in their case to rant about how the evil gubmint is just doing this so they can implement some crazy scheme involving various three letter agencies, they get bonus points for references to zionism, ethnic cleansing of white people or extraterrestrial lizard men (one of these days I need to design a few conspiracy theory bingo boards).

I'm not saying these people will post comments on this /. story but I am saying that somewhere a few of them are already foaming at the mouth after hearing about this. And in the past I have seen "mark of the beast" comments on /..

Re:Cue the crazy religious and anti-government peo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178117)

Jésus Christ loves you and want to save you.
Hé annonces thé lové of god.

Tattoos (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177299)

It was only a matter of time until Hollywood swapped barcodes on the necks of prisoners in sci-fi movies for QR codes... I'll totally get one.

Privacy (2)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177307)

People do not put their private information online by choice. Not even through the driving license or credit card. It would be better to microfiche the data and put that on the sticker. There have to be some safeguards. Most people do not trust the internet with any more than gossip and they are not likely to change in that opinion.

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177711)

People do not put their private information online by choice. Most people do not trust the internet

Laughs.

Even Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177343)

Encrypt the data and add the key to the QR code.

Microsoft already tried it; didn't work. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177345)

The big problem is that no matter how useful such services may be, there have not been enough (or strong enough) guarantees of privacy. Microsoft had this same idea, or close enough. They didn't have QR codes but otherwise the idea was the same. And it was a MAJOR failure. Nobody signed up.
>
Unless there are very solid and enforceable privacy guarantees, people will keep NOT signing up.

Re:Microsoft already tried it; didn't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178379)

Because governments can never be trusted to not change things, there will never be a 'guarantee of privacy'.

HealthVault (1)

kervin (64171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178429)

They didn't give up. Microsoft is still trying with HealthVault [healthvault.com] . It's a Personal Health Record [wikipedia.org] platform so they're hoping others build these types of solutions on top their offering. PHR usage has been growing, with some of the largest companies in the country ( Walmart, ATT, etc. ) using Dossia [dossia.org] .

This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracelets (4, Informative)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177401)

Write your medical condition on bracelet. I guess you can fit more info on a website but still.
Do they not have them everywhere?
http://www.medicalert.org/shop/shopHome.htm [medicalert.org]

Re:This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracel (4, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177635)

Of course it has. This is just a company going for a cash grab. I'm surprised they aren't using a proprietary 2D barcode format, but that would mean hiring 3x as many developers.

This thing is such a bad idea it shouldn't even have to be enumerated.
1) EMT doesn't have the app.
2) Person is in a reception dead zone. (Soon to literally be a dead zone.)
3) Disaster scenario: What happens to mobile phone reception?
4) Paramedics have time to surfe the web while trying to save lives?
5) LifeSquare's web site is down. Whoops, guess I'll die of a reaction to penicillin then.

Sure, there are privacy issues, but that seems to be the least of the faults with the system. Just write the dam thing in English on the bracelet and all you need to do is be able to read English. Low-tech solution is the right one.

Re:This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracel (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177933)

Yep, someone figured out a better solution back in 1956 [wikipedia.org] and had the decency not to try to extort money from it.

Re:This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178403)

Hackers will hack into the system and switch around all the information. This system will kill us all!

Re:This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracel (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177783)

MedicAlert comes with an ID number and phone number that medical staff can call for more information.

(I would expect that they will start offering NFC and implantable chips once it makes sense, but that's only a small improvement over what they already offer.)

Re:This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178393)

And the argument that data is more easily changed online is mote. My allergies never change.

Re:This has already be solved by MedicAlert bracel (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178465)

The size of that tiny mote is moot anyway.

Tom Sawyer Plan (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177415)

Way to make something needlessly difficult. If you've got some complicated medical issues, write them on a piece of paper and laminate it. Keep the paper in your pocket. Keep another copy in your wallet. If you're really paranoid, keep a third copy in a waterproof pouch on a necklace under your shirt. That will work anywhere.

Re:Tom Sawyer Plan (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177607)

Great idea! Now we just need to patent "notes on piece of paper". (See, "notes on a website" wouold be much easier to pass off to those USPTO peons!)

Re:Tom Sawyer Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177797)

Great idea! Now we just need to patent "notes on piece of paper".

Wait, wait! I've got a great idea for a new patent. It's like notes on a piece of paper... on the internet!

Re:Tom Sawyer Plan (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178045)

Or just get a medic alert bracelet like the smart people with deadly afflictions.

Re:Tom Sawyer Plan (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178055)

Not if you are in an area where locals don't speak English. And, for example, neither spoken nor written Latin gets you anywhere in a Chinese pharmacy.

Still, keeping it low tech is the right thing to do.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

kuzb (724081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177437)

It's just a QR code, which is little more than an advanced barcode. I don't see why we feel the need to write stories every time one gets used. It's like reading about paint drying.

Re:Who cares? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177523)

Because it's fun to watch all the people on soapboxes arguing back and forth without reading the article and barely reading the summary? 25 comments in and it's already a hoot!

Re:Who cares? (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178391)

I'm not sure if you're serious or trolling. In case you're serious:

Saying QR code is "a little more than an advanced barcode" is like saying a computer is like an advanced calculator. While technically true, the fact that QR codes can hold MUCH more data makes the comparison moot. While the barcode and QR code are related, they have different applications.

Apple again (5, Insightful)

sensationull (889870) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177537)

What is this 'with an iPhone' junk again. How about with a smartphone/portable computer etc. Why must everything be Apple, is it just so the sheep understand stuff to or what. Just give them some crayons and let them sit in the corner if it is to complicated for them to parse the word smartphone to include their own little Jobsian idol.

Re:Apple again (3, Insightful)

SirAdelaide (1432553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177729)

I came here to post that exact same comment. "Can I scan it with my Android QR scan app?"

Re:Apple again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178243)

"Can I scan it with my Android QR scan app?"

No, you need the iQR iScan iApp.
If it still doesn't work, use some more i's.

The only thing you won't need is IQ.

Re:Apple again (1)

nlitement (1098451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177823)

Because to those that the Web == the Internet, smartphone == an iPhone.

Re:Apple again (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178273)

Smartphone? What's that?

Re:Apple again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178419)

Just demand the government pay one trillion dollars developing a new system.

this is stupid (5, Interesting)

s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (2591761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177555)

I work in the healthcare field, and I can assure you that at least 95% of people don't even bother to keep an updated written list of their medications in their purse or wallet. The tiny minority of people who would even CARE to input their information and keep a QR code sticker handy are the same people who know their medications/doses, so do not even need this service. The only way this could possibly work is if each person used only one pharmacy ever, AND if the pharmacy was allowed to provide this information to anybody with the software to scan the QR code (a very dicey proposition, given that HIPAA outlaws access to "protected health information"), AND if everyone was willing to carry something with this QR code on them at all times. I can tell you right now, I wouldn't carry anything extra, so unless the QR code is added to my drivers license I won't have one with me.

Re:this is stupid (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177775)

The only way a system vaguely like this one will ever work is if one day the health care system creates a national patient health information database. The issues involved in such a project are of course enormous, but if it could ever get off the ground, it would solve this and so many other problems with patient data. To give some examples...

  1. 1. My dad gets bloodwork done at a lab that needs to be faxed to a specialist clinic, and they've used the wrong fax number three times now. He has to talk to people at the clinic to see if it arrived and then to people at the lab to see why it didn't arrive, which is a huge waste of everyone's time.
    2. After bloodwork he often wants to know the results, which requires asking someone or having them call him, when ideally he could just check online.
    3. I recently got my eyes checked and spent the first ten minutes of the exam filling out mundane personal background that could have been imported from other clinics. I'm not completely certain I remembered my allergies correctly or if I accidentally told them one of dad's, so there are accuracy issues too with all this reentry.
    4. I had to hunt down vaccination records a while ago which was a complete disaster. I ended up just getting the shots again, after visiting two clinics in person (it's always easier...) and talking with several people over the phone. At one place my records hadn't been digitized so I had to wait for them to physically pull them, and even then they were horribly incomplete and nobody has any idea why.
    5. The place that wanted my vaccination had me fill out the form on my honor. I could lie, saying I got the shots when I didn't, and they'd never check or know because it would be impractical. If the system was digital it could have some reasonable integrity checks.
    6. I swapped pharmacies recently. I had to give more mundane info to the new pharmacist that should have been imported and she had to call the old pharmacy to transfer some prescriptions. After being told they'd be ready in about an hour, I came back in three and they still weren't done because they had been "swamped" and were too busy to place the phone call. It would have been so much simpler if they could have just accessed a national database and filled my prescriptions during my first visit.

...the list goes on (especially if you include insurance info!) but I'll stop...

Re:this is stupid (1)

s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (2591761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178083)

Exactly. Now take that a step further: these tardfucks can't even find their own collection of accurate information about you IN THEIR OWN FILING SYSTEMS. Can you even imagine the headache of trusting so many of these incompetent, dysfunctional organizations to keep your information current and accurate in such a centralized database?

Personal Health Records (1)

kervin (64171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178405)

You don't have to "only use one pharmacy" ever. You'd have to use a PHR [wikipedia.org] like Open Source IndivoHealth [indivohealth.org] or HealthVault [healthvault.com] or Dossia [dossia.org] .

Personally, I believe it's a great idea that hopefully will one day catch on.

Re:this is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178459)

Couldn't a law be passed requiring the QR to be tattooed on one's forehead?

Let me get this straight (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177605)

You want people to give you confidential information to perform an encoding they could just as easily do on their own? The confidentiality of your proprietary software does not trump the confidentiality of medical data.

iPhone? (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177659)

Why an iPhone and not any smartphone or any other similar device?
What can an iPhone do any other smart phone cannot?
I think this is just marketing fluff.
You want to attract interest in a project? Just add an iPhone/iPad/iWhatever!
Then possibly put the data in the cloud and a spray some 3D multimedia and ubiquitous stuff all over!
Ah!

Re:iPhone? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178289)

Kleenex

Xerox

"The way that we look at is that " (1)

Artea (2527062) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177777)

People's privacy has already been trampled on for years! So nobody is going to say anything when we implement this. Right? Right??

I have a better idea (4, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177799)

What if every US citizen had a 9-digit identifier, which could be used to look up their medical information online?

Re:I have a better idea (2)

nlitement (1098451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177867)

I have a feeling this wouldn't work in America. The basis for government isn't trust, but fear. As someone who's lived in Finland all his life, I have to tell you the reason any of our "socialism" (!!!) and national resident registry with IDs for everybody works, is because people in office aren't fucking around, at least that much, at least yet. There is a strict culture of disdain for screwing up here in Finland, so if you're the chief of police of some town and are caught drunk driving, you're busted, doesn't matter what your status is. People in power are in power because they're servants of the public and have a responsibility, not because they're privileged little kings. This is probably the reason why we come #1 in corruption rankings as the least corrupt country.

If I were an American, and the government introduced a national registry for citizens and gave everybody an ID, I would be very suspicious and would be against it, at least if it were being implemented at a federal level. Here, though, I have no problem with it and honestly it just helps things so much, like not having to waste time when moving by telling everybody about your new address, because you can just change your address online at the population registry, and this address will be updated to all utility companies, etc. whose services you use and also the postal service. That national ID is also used for taxation, voting, medical records, etc. everything useful.

Re:I have a better idea (2)

thaiceman (2564009) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177915)

What he is referring to is the fact that all Americans already have a nine digit social security number attached to them which is tied to us typically within a month of being born and sticks around till we die.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178259)

I have a feeling this wouldn't work in America. The basis for government isn't trust, but fear. As someone who's lived in Finland all his life

So you base your evaluation of the basis of American governance on your life experience of not living in America?

I have to tell you the reason any of our "socialism"

At least you acknowledge that socialism is a terrible idea that has a been the single most catastrophic failure in human history.

This is probably the reason why we come #1 in corruption rankings as the least corrupt country.

Or because you lie on the rankings...

Re:I have a better idea (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178227)

What if every US citizen had a 9-digit identifier, which could be used to look up their medical information online?

Doesn't work if you're temporarily offline. And it doesn't tell you what it is you're looking up, one key into twenty different databases is useless.

We already have any number of systems with any number of identifiers, they need to be able to talk to each other, and I don't see why the government needs to impose a blanket standard. Let the various systems compete on their technical merits, and simply work out some rules to ensure that each service publishes an access API. How you define the health of the human body is an incredibly complex problem that requires constant innovation, and we should encourage anyone with a better idea to try it and actually do it, rather than having some agency dictate how it is to be done.

And governments have generally been terrible in managing the identity aspect of healthcare; in the US, for example, we have terrible trouble with Medicare fraud, but healthcare fraud, waste and abuse is a fairly universal issue. Most places don't have any real healthcare debate, so those problems are quietly swept under the rug. In the US, it *sounds* like it's worse, but only because we're actually working through these problems in a relatively transparent process.

Really? (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177869)

How about, and that's and absolutely dumb idea...we just give people little cards in business-card size and they write down their medications there? You put it in your pocket or in your wallet and bam, you don't need in iPhone.

Anyone ever heard of Road ID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177955)

Check out RoadID.com. They have an interactive ID band that pretty much covers what you're talking about. The nice thing is that you can constantly update your information without having to reprint QR stickers. I bought mine for when I run, but honestly have gotten to where I just wear it everyday in the event something happens. Your info can be accessed via telephone or their website by using a serial #/pin engraved on the back of the ID band, so a special phone or application isn't needed. It sounds like the QR code is way more complicated of a solution.

Re:Anyone ever heard of Road ID (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178073)

Just took a quick peak at the site and with the amount of room they use to print the instructions on how to access your information, they could have just printed the damn information right on it! I can see the point of not having to reprint them if stuff changes, but how ofter does your emergency contact information REALLY change? Maybe once every 5-8 years on average, after that long, the old one will probably be worn out anyways!

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178011)

Before:
Write information on paper.
[...]
Read paper.

Now:
Insert information into complex electronic device.
Send information across network of interconnected computers.
Store information on complex electronic device thousands of miles away.
[...]
Take out camera to photograph blocks.
Wait for phone to interpret blocks as unique ID.
Send unique ID across network of interconnected computers.
Wait for complex electronic device thousands of miles away to retrieve information associated with unique ID.
Wait for information to be sent back across network of interconnected computers.
Display information on phone screen.

Well done, capitalism! Yet another unnecessary invention! Because technology could have been used to reduce everyone's work week to 3 days, but instead we must keep our noses needlessly to the grindstone.

Related project for pharmacogenomic information (1)

matthias_samwald (2652603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178077)

I am working on a slightly related project as part of my scientific research, so I can relate to the motivation behind Lifesquare, but also share some of the criticism.

* On their website they make it seem like people are motivated to put QR codes everywhere, just in case something bad might happen to them. People usually are not motivated to plan for unlikely, unexpected and bad events in such ways.
* Indeed there is no reason to safe the information on a server, since the essential data is small enough to be printed as human-readable text, or at least be captured in a compressed format inside the QR code (so it can be decoded without a central server).
* The medications that patients take change, and updating the data is difficult (again, patients are not motivated enough, electronic health record systems are usually a mess, and shielded by harsh legal restrictions).

--- Self-promotion starts below ---

For the research project that I am working on we are focusing on different aspects -- although the general idea of 'using QR codes to save lives' is the same. The thing is called "Medicine Safety Code" (http://safety-code.org) and is done as part of a working group of the W3C. Instead of focusing on representing medication intake (which can change rapidly), we focus on representing data that is constant throughout our lifetime: pharmacogenomic variants. Each of us has some variants in key genes that influence whether a certain medication can help or harm us. If we would know about these variants we could make better, more personalized decisions when we are prescribed new medications – in contrast to the current “let’s try the standard therapy first and see what happens” approach that puts adverse reactions to prescribed medications in the top-10 list of reasons for hospitalisation in developed countries.

The time could be right: targeted genetic testing is becoming very cheap (100 Dollars), and technologies such as QR codes can make it easy to integrate the information into workflows of routine medical care.

Even though these pharmacogenomic data are quite large, they can be compressed to fit into the data captured by the QR code – making it possible to interpret a Medicine Safety Code without a centralized database. Still, the server can come in handy for interpreting Medicine Safety Codes without installing dedicated software first.

Regarding privacy: Indeed, everyone who has the code knows about my pharmacogenes and drug allergies. However, I feel more comfortable by protecting my medical data like I protect all other content of my wallet, rather than handing over my data to some private company that keeps it in a central server together with the data of thousands of others. At least a high-profile ‘leak’ of all data is made impossible that way.

Regarding uptake: Only a handful of patients are motivated enough to take extra expenses for such things, even though they might benefit. To make this work on a significant, global scale, it needs to be backed by institutions and payers. And this will only happen when one can prove that it saves money and decreases hospitalisations. It is difficult, but I hope that it can be done. If deployed on a wide scale, such Medicine Safety Codes could indeed safe lives AND money.

So they can mine the data and market to you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178161)

Does anyone really think that this vast information vault would not be IMMEDIATELY harvested and mined (anonymously, of course hahahaha) by drug companies for advertising purposes?

Commercials would say 'most prescribed medication for zits on your ass! ORDER NOW!'.

If you are sufficiently messed up medically to have a need for this service, one would hope that you would realize that you need some sort of 'Medic Alert' information on you (my father has a bracelet for his defibrillator and other meds).

If you are to stupid to have said bracelet for for a life threatening allergy or reaction to medicine, then you die due to your stupidity. I see it as a win/win. If you have that LIFE SAVING information on you as you should, you get the proper treatment. If you don't, then you die and society merrily chugs along with one less idiot in its ranks.

Road ID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178381)

Why wouldn't you just get a Road ID that can be used anywhere in the world?

http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx

Silicon Valley Start-up (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178447)

Lifesquare wants residents to input personal information about their medications into its website,

And how, exactly, does Lifesquare make money? TFA does not say. Until that's clear, "privacy concerns" is an understatement.

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