Post written by Casey Quinlan
I have this tattooed, 3 by 3 inches, on my chest. It scans about 50% of the time, depending on my body position and lighting conditions - when it works, it opens a page on one of my sites which, with the password inked below the QR code (the password characters aren’t visible in any image of this QR online), gives access to two PDF documents. One is my full health history, the other is my advance directive.
This is totally a political statement, based on the work I do to drive policy changes in the medical-industrial complex that put patients, not clinicians or payers or IT developers, in primary control of their own medical records.
Here are 5 ways you can avoid having to get your own QR code tattoo to effect the same purpose: effective, efficient management of your medical records.
This is a super little accessory that uses a QR code in an expanded version of a Medicalert bracelet. You can use it to hold your medical history, allergies, conditions, and more. From the product’s website: “First responders can quickly scan the QR code found on your MyID product with their smartphone or call our 24/7 live operator to access your profile. Since your profile is securely stored online, your information is always current.” Pricing for the device runs $19.95 to $29.95 for the bracelet itself, with stickers and condition sliders running $.99 to $4.95. The annual cost for a premium profile is $10. Even though I have a QR tattoo, I have a MyID bracelet, too. I like the product.
Healthvault is a free service from Microsoft, offering consumers a place to enter or load their medical data either manually, or via a connected app, into a storage platform. You can export health history documents, import information from a number of health apps, but you cannot find an app that is itself a mobile version of Healthvault. It works as a storage platform, and you’ll have to rely on one of their connected apps to serve up data on the go.
- Smartphone health data management apps
There are a number of these available - just search for “personal medical record app” in Google Play Store or Apple App Store and stand back as you’re flooded with options. Mayo Clinic has one, many electronic medical records companies have build them to work with their EHR systems. I personally like The Diary (still in beta) and Caresync, just two of the flood of apps available.
- Roll Your Own (digital)
You can create your own digital medical records vault on your own computer, and use tools like Google Drive to access those records on your smartphone. Using Excel, you can create a master document for yourself and each of your family members, using worksheet tabs to break down the historical data by person or by year. You can also upload those documents into Box or Dropbox, and share them with your family and your clinical team.
- Roll Your Own (old school paper)
If you’re not confident of your ability to create your own digital record set, you can go old school and get paper copies of all your records and keep them in a binder, or set of binders. Be aware that binders full of records are digitally secure (they’re not visible online if they’re in a binder on your shelf), but they’re not secure from fire or flood damage. There’s no backup.