This actually is not a bad idea as it is not a complete PHR, but rather the information one would need while traveling out of the area or in the ER room. The fact that it is “read only” and can’t be tampered with is great. It can be updated the article states on the next visit to a Kaiser facility and is password protected and encrypted. Having contacts, both personal and MDs on the drive is helpful as well as having a list of medications, labs, procedures, etc. on the drive. Also, recent EKGs and x-ray images are included.
Right now the service is being offered in Northern California and hopefully soon throughout the rest of the system after the successful pilot program in Oakland. BD
The read-only drive, designed for use while a person is traveling or during a health emergency, is a sort of stopgap effort as the U.S. works to build a national electronic health records system that can provide easy access to patient health information anywhere.
The flash drive, which costs members $5, does not contain a patient's entire health record, but it does hold emergency contacts, past hospitalizations (with the diagnoses and procedures performed), physicians and contact information, medical issues, immunization records, allergies, current medications, lab results for the past year, and readings and images from recent EKGs and chest X-rays.
The USB drives are available through Kaiser's medical secretaries departments. When a member requests a USB drive, the medical data is downloaded to the drive from Kaiser's Electronic Medical Record while the patient waits. The patient then enters a password as the final step, before the drive is removed from the computer. It's all done while the patient is visiting a facility.