Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips implanted into human beings hold the promise of improving patient care, particularly in emergency settings, but only after privacy questions are addressed, according to a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) physician who has a chip implanted in his arm.
Writing in the July 28 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, John Halamka, MD, chief information officer at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School and an emergency room physician, says the chip implanted in his upper right arm would allow anyone with a handheld RFID reader to scan his arm and obtain his 16-digit medical identifier.
The chip, which consists of several small components encased in an unbreakable glass capsule, was implanted in his arm in December 2004 with only a local anesthetic. Any authorized health care worker can visit a secure web site hosted by the chip manufacturer and retrieve information about his identity, and that of his primary care physician, who could provide medical history details.
Jerry Berger | EurekAlert!
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