Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paramedic develops ID bracelet with QR codes

The ResQ bracelet uses QR codes to give first responders access to a wearer

Lee Roberts knows seconds can save lives.

And now he’s developed a unique ID bracelet that could buy those precious seconds.
Roberts, 48, is a paramedic based in New Westminster. In 14 years responding to all kinds of medical calls, he’s encountered patients who are unconscious, patients who don’t speak English, patients with lists of medications as long as his arm, patients who have no idea of their medical history.
Trying to extract vital information in those situations can cost valuable time.

So he updated the concept of the old MedicAlert bracelet with modern QR technology that allows first responders to access a wearer’s medical and contact information with a quick scan using their smartphone.

QR codes are the boxy hieroglyphics increasingly found in the corner of ads and billboards to open a window to even more information about the product or service when they’re scanned by a smart phone. They were originally developed for the Japanese auto industry to track parts and vehicles during manufacturing.

Roberts’ ResQ Scan bracelets are simple soft silicon bands with a metal band embossed with the wearer’s unique QR symbol. That symbol is linked to a secure database that contains any or all medical and contact information that the wearer has uploaded through a website. The system’s storage capacity is limitless, and the information can be easily updated.
“It does make your job a little easier,” said Roberts, who spent a year-and-a-half developing his product. “It might lead us down the path quicker to help them.”

Roberts said the technology could also be applied for Alzheimer’s patients who are prone to wandering, with their address and contacts embedded into their QR code. Eventually the bracelets could even be embedded with a GPS chip that would allow authorities to track a patient’s whereabouts.

Other first responders like police, fire and nurses at the emergency triage desk could also benefit by scanning a patient’s QR code.
“Any first responder should see that as a first alert,” said Roberts.
The bracelets cost $45, which includes access to the website that allows wearers to upload their information securely.

So far they’re only available online in Metro Vancouver, said Roberts, who worked on his invention between shifts in the ambulance. Eventually he’d like to sell them nationally.
But that will take more money, which he hopes to raise by applying to appear on the CBC TV series Dragon’s Den.

Roberts is convinced he’s got a winner that will capture the attention of the well-heeled “Dragons.”
“Everybody I’ve talked to, paramedics, nurses, emergency room doctors, they all say ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ ” - Paramedic develops ID bracelet with QR codes
by  Mario Bartel - New Westminster News Leader
posted Apr 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM