How this little gadget could be a lifesaver for both the wearer and their caregiver

When brainstorming how to approach writing this post, I couldn’t decide whose perspective it should come from–the caregiver or the person wearing it? Who benefits the most from a medical tech gadget like MyID by Endevr

Perhaps one of the most critical roles of a caregiver is managing the medical records, history, and overall knowledge of their carer’s condition. Caregivers don’t just administer their carer’s care plan, they have to understand it and be able to communicate the care plan to a variety of persons and professionals. Caregivers are the ultimate communicators. On the other hand, it’s critical that an indiviual be able to communicate to their doctors their medical history, conditions, and current concerns, and be able to do so openly and candidly.

And therein lies the age old problem…

Caregivers can be professional individuals, trained and experienced in a variety of roles from nursing to social work to simply well-organized, compassionate person. Oftentimes, caregivers are a family member, friend, or loved one such as a spouse or partner. Both caregiver situations have the potential for awkwardness. We often take for granted our opportunity as independent individuals to be examined by and speak with the medical professional in our lives in an open manner and know that there is confidentiality protecting us. Much of that is lost when the time comes for us to be taken care of by a caregiver; and over time the caregiver may become responsible for remembering a long record of medical history, vocabulary, and pertinent care and conditions for their carer. 

Remembering all that medical history and care can be cumbersome for the individual, too. Seventeen years into his injury and my husband, Tan, can only remember a fraction of the procedures he’s had done, care plans, and medications he’s been on or is allergic. These things can seriously impact his care if forgotten. 

Here’s where MyID comes in. MyID was born after its creator’s near death experience when he was narrowly missed by an out of control car during an evening run. Head first in a snowy embankment, where he dove to avoid the car, it was a wake up call for him as he wondered how emergency and medical personnel would identify him if the worst had happened. MyID differs from traditional medic-alert bracelets as it provides medical personnel with a code that allows them to access a patient’s stored medical information on a personal online account. 

The bracelet is made of soft silicon with an aluminum clasp and info band that contains a QR code, 800 toll free phone number, and account PIN code. There is an option to purchase additional condition sliders, such as “diabetic,” “epilepsy,” or create your own condition specific slider. One reviewer said the bracelet isn’t uncomfortable, but he couldn’t forget that he was wearing it either. 

Your personal online account is free for the first year with your purchase of a MyID bracelet and then $9.99 per year to store a wealth of medical information, such as all of your medical conditions, emergency contact names and phone numbers, insurance information, lists of medications you’re taking, and much more. If you chose to forego the Premium plan, you can still keep your basic information, like name, birth date, address, one piece of medical information, and one emergency contact. 

So how effective is this new medic-alert bracelet? After speaking with a few other people with spinal cord injuries, their concenrns mimicked ours–we all wondered if medical personnel would know what to do with the bracelet, if they recognized the purpose of the bracelet at all? After some research we found that almost everyone had that same question. The bracelet has the staff of asclepius printed on the band clearly marking that it has some medical purpose. The QR code is self explanatory to most, but does require that the medical professional in question has a reader app on their cell phone to make use of the QR code. That leaves the 800 number option. One reviewer asked a colleague who moonlights as an EMT what he thought of the bracelet, he wrote: 

“In the field, a lot of times we did a cursory type check for medic alert bracelets and such if time permitted, but something like this would be more for once you were in a hospital. The fact that you have to use an app to access the data is a no go in the field. The specific side slider would be a lot more help, but in general without any specific training or knowledge of the system it may get over looked. I don’t know what kind of information the company puts out to educate the medical community about their specific device and its use.”

So, as we thought, the bracelet probably isn’t all that helpful on the scene if there is an emergency situation, but what about once you get to the hospital? What turned me on to the bracelet in the first place was a testimonial on the bracelet posted in one of the online support groups we are members of. She wrote that her life was saved after a nurse saw the bracelet on her arm and called the 800 number located on the clasp. It was then the nurse learned that one of the medicines that the doctor had prescribed, and that she was about to administer, was on the patients allergy list. The young woman would have died had the nurse given her that dose. Many of the comments from medical and emergency personnel that we read all recommended sticking with the tried and true medic-alert bracelets containing your stamped and engraved personal information, illness, and allergies, but the woman I spoke to swears that a traditional medic bracelet wouldn’t have saved her life the way the MyID bracelet did. 

And why is that? The answer is really simple once you learn it. Traditional medic bracelets contain a very finite amount of information on them, forcing you to choose only the most pertinent or medically necessary information to list, and if that’s not enough, to wear multiple bracelets detailing you medical information. For someone with a long medical history, chronic illness, multiple illnesses, or an injury such as SCI that results in a multitude of symptomatic dysfunctions, that could mean wearing an armful of bracelets, charms, and tags. In the end, most choose to roll the dice and wear a bracelet detailing what information they think is the most necessary and pray that the rest can be sorted out later. With MyID there is no picking and choosing what information is important because your online and personal profile may contain your entire medical history if you’re willing.  

That kind of storage power also means that at any given doctors appointment, you can share the most recent information from tests, other physician visits, hospital stays, and more, always keeping your various doctors in the loop and without worry that you’re forgetting something. It’s a safety for the caregiver, like insurance, that’s there to make sure all the important information is covered; and it’s a leg up in independence for the individual requiring a caregiver as the medical information they need is right there on their wrist and not stored in inaccessible binders or folders in a book bag that will require someone else to access for them. 

The question still remains if medical personnel will be able to access the information from the bracelet. Even if the emergency situation has been removed and we’re now placed in a calm and thorough environment like a doctor’s office, medical staff would still need an app and a mobile device to scan the bracelet’s QR code. But as more doctors are moving to digital systems for alerting, tracking, and maintaining the records of their patients’, even utilizing patient portals for personal access to one’s own records and doctors’ notes, we think it’s reasonable to believe that if more of their long term patients incorporated the MyID into their care that doctors would see the merit in utilizing the bracelet.  

Tell us what you think! Is MyID something you would incorporate in your long term care? 

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