The price is ridiculous, but a stupidly clever idea nonetheless. Even better would be a credit card with medical info on it for your wallet.


This is one of those slap your forehead product ideas. Everyone sells a USB drive, but slap a red cross on it and suddenly you have a medical USB product and can probably charge twice as much for a low capacity device. Case in point: The MEDISTICK.

Your exclusive MEDISTICK software contains your critical core information (e.g. blood group, allergies, current medication and any current health conditions) and administrative data such as your name, date of birth, next of kin contact information and family doctor contact numbers as well as health care insurance details.

  1. Jon says:

    I’m gonna put a tape cross on my old 64mb thumbdrive and sharpie ‘medical information’ on it with a .txt file with all my info…

    Or… just have a laminated card in my wallet with it printed on it, just in case a paramedic doesn’t have a laptop handy.

  2. Pete Aardvark Doubleday says:


    I’ve just spent eighteen months watching the UK government’s attempts to provide countrywide coverage for the NHS. Now, I’m no expert on health care. Actually, I’m only even partially competent at tying my own shoe-laces. But I can spot idiocy when it smacks me in the face.

    (In an earlier incarnation, I predicted the Falklands war. Oh well, there’s another $20 billion and several thousand dead down the drain.)

    You’re not dealing with technology here — you’re dealing with bureaucrats. There’s an interface, but it’s very fuzzy. The UK NHS system, apart from being cretinously designed, is going to cost £20 billion pounds. Think about that. That’s a two with … well, I’ll have to take my shoes and socks off. (Leprosy does that to you.) Quite a lot of zeros.

    Now, I used to work with credit cards, and I’m still fairly au courrant with the technology. Chip’n’pin was designed (albeit largely as a fallback) to detect fraud, and as such it will store just about as much personal information as any reasonable human being would want. Including a URL jump to another site, if necessary.

    These people are designing in the dark ages.

    If I get struck down by Ebola in Ontario, I do *not* want a half-wit filling in a web-based form, replete with asterisks for really crucial information such as where I was born. What I want is a summary of my medical history, together with useful information such as whether I’ve got diabetes or I’m allergic to penicillin, and we can go from there…

    Which is a pretty useless example, because I’d be 90% dead anyway.

    You might be interested to know of the calculation that the NHS computer system is going to cost £400 per (possible) patient. Given the fact that I’ve been to the doctor about twice in the last twenty years, and given the fact the the general practioner who came up with this figure has tried the new system and doesn’t see any value in it other than record keeping, this is a bit shocking.

    Stick it on a credit card chip. Put the essential details on, unencoded. Add links to the relevant health providers. Allow the patient to put a password in for personal information.

    Is this so hard?

    … Hmmm …

    — Aardvark

  3. Don says:

    Yeah, and who’s going to prod the medical industry to adopt this? God forbid they become efficient; they might have to lower costs (maybe starting with charging a couple of bucks for this lowly 64MB flash drive instead of the $60 they’re charging now).

  4. Elliot says:

    Already been done but better:

  5. AB CD says:

    I thought you guys wanted more privacy. I don’t want my medical records available like this.

  6. ranron says:

    These medical flash drives are not your regular drives. They have built in a security tokens and advanced security encryption, so that only medical people can actually retrieve the information.

  7. Ron Larson says:

    The idea of walking around with all your medical information on a memory stick sounds scary to me. A better solution is a simple dog tag with a serial number, like the military uses. Any medical service should be able to use that serial number, with the patient’s password to grant access, to recall a medical record and history via the Internet.

    That way the information is stored, and secured centrally. It can also be updated from medical services world wide. In counties like the UK with a centralized state medical care system, this could work.

    In the US, it would not work. Unless the federal goverment offers to sponsor such a database, and most US medical providers agree to feed information into it. Not very likely.

    They key is to have the web site deliver the information in an XML format so that the local medical service provider can entrepret the information in whatever method works best for them.

  8. Uncle Dave says:

    Oh, Ron. If only it were that simple.

    Too many on the religious right would consider that in league with the number of the beast stuff. Others would see it as smacking of creating a national ID number/card which many are opposed to for various reasons.

    The other big problem is what if the Internet is down and the docs can’t get to your file. Of course, the flash drive is useless if there’s no power for the computer. Assuming there is a computer around. Think catastraphies.

    And then there’s the whole controlling your files thing. A central database — no matter how well protected — could be used improperly by those with access.

    That’s not to say carrying around something with your med records on it isn’t a good idea for when it can be accessed. At the very least, list previous surgeries, implants, drug allergies and related item that would be important during an emergency.

  9. BobH says:

    That Merck owns the name MediStick (as a 2 second search on Google reveals) for a product already in the health care industry apparently never entered the mind of the marketing person who appropriated the name. I suspect it will when they get hit with a cease and desist.

  10. AB CD says:

    It doesn’t matter what security you have. You are still required to have the database in the first place, to provide your records to doctors that ask, etc.

  11. Jeffrey Stephen says:

    I came up with a similar idea a few years back when Timex came out with their Data watch I sent them an e-mail describing a system that would alert people to take their meds (Great for older people with limited memory), Timex never adopted this or even acknowledged my e-mail.


  12. Uncle Dave says:

    Jeffery: Probably because a number of companies already make them such as this one.

  13. cheese says:

    Hey not so fast medstick! One of my database students came up with this idea long ago for her mother. Her thumb drive comes complete with an Access database containing her entire history, x-rays, etc. anything that can be uploaded. She even painted a “medical alert”-looking symbol on it. She wears it on her wrist and sometimes on her ankle. This has literally been a “life-saver”.

    This was her final project — which she earned a well-deserved “A”.

  14. Jeffrey Stephen says:

    Uncle Dave, I sent the idea to Timex within days of the announcment of the Timex dat Link watch, I saw the potential right away, this was in the mid 90s, how long has my idea been in production?


  15. Robert says:

    I had the same idea to store emergency medical info on a thumb drive, but with ever increasing security concerns, many I.T. Administrators are disabling the USB ports on PCs in order to prevent data theft.


Bad Behavior has blocked 11935 access attempts in the last 7 days.