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#176692 - 07/17/09 02:51 PM Traveler-ER USB flash drive
BigToe Offline

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 81
I ran across this $30 purpose-built USB memory stick in one of my motorcycle groups: www.traveler-er.com

It's a smallish (64 MB) USB drive with some software to enter your medical data and enables you to encrypt the data. It also has an printable output that seeks to present medical personnel with your information in a familiar accessible format.

They say:
Traveler-ER allows you to securely store:
•Personal Information
•Medical History
•Emergency Contact Information
•Contact Information for your primary care physician and other doctors
•Health Insurance Information
•Family Medical History
•Information about your Travel History"

Another interesting aspect is that they include a wallet card that points medical personnel to your USB device.

Currently I don't carry this type of data for me and mine. I have some text files in no particular format on my laptop which I don't even replicate on my Blackberry. I clearly need to develop a strategy.

This forum has so many knowledgeable experts and experienced first responders that I thought I would ask:
What is your current strategy for carrying your (and family's) medical history?
Is an electronic approach viable?
What do you think of this device or one like it?
Is there an open-source and freely available solution for carrying electronic medical history data out there?

Overall, I like the approach they've taken but would be interested in an open-source format that I could migrate onto other perhaps more hardened USB drives and into other formats as memory standards evolve. The reservation I would have is does the solution present information to medical personnel in an accessible way considering you might be unable to communicate.

Thanks in advance for your comments here on Ritter University!

- Andy

Edited by BigToe (07/17/09 02:53 PM)
Men have become the tools of their tools.
Henry David Thoreau

#176693 - 07/17/09 02:57 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: BigToe]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
You could use a normal (read cheaper) flash drive and encrypt the data yourself, but really, does it need to be encrypted? I can't think of a reason to encrypt my medical records or contact info.

Contact info is in your phone not encrypted so that's not a big deal.

Health insurance.. normally in your wallet not encrypted or encoded, nothing special there.

I think an normal flash drive will store all the stuff you want.

As far as being able to print, just store the data in PDF file formats or .TXT those are WIDELY viewable by the largest % of people on the planet.

Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#176698 - 07/17/09 03:33 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: BigToe]
Denis Offline

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
My initial concern with the Traveler-ER product is the hardware they've chosen to use. It is a fairly common USB drive, unfortunately one that won't securely attach to anything. The key ring attachment on those drives is very flimsy (I broke one after a day or two of key chain carry). This leaves you with having to keep it tucked away in a pocket or somewhere else out-of-site which, I think, would reduce the likelihood of it being found and used in the case of an emergency.

A better solution, at least from the hardware perspective, would seem to be UTAG's ICE products. I would think the wearable options would be the best since they are similar to existing medical products (i.e., Medic Alert).

I can't really talk to well these electronic medical record systems work, but would be somewhat concerned about how portable the data really is (I don't know what kind of machines hospitals & medical clinics would commonly be using).
Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

#176703 - 07/17/09 03:52 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: BigToe]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2840
Ok, first off, a USb drive is not a memory stick. If you send someone into a computer store asking for a memory stick chances are they will walk out with a Sony Memory Stick and it won't be of much use for them, be careful re-using an existing term.

Second, what happens if the ER doesn't have any way or policy forbids installing any software. If I were in charge of IT for any hospitar or first response team I wouldn't let people plug in USB drives and install software, the risk is just too great.

Third what happens 3-4 years or even longer down the road the software is not supported how do you get your data back out? I was in that situation before, programs like TaxAct, Microsoft Money, Microsoft Publisher, etc. Old versions get discontinued and the new versio won't import the old data so you end up having to install the old version on an old os on a dedicated system.

#176711 - 07/17/09 04:54 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: Eugene]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
This has come up before. I think the consensus was that:

In an emergency, the ER isn't going to mess with anything like this. The will look for a medical bracelet, but that is about it. Also in an emergency, they don't need a lot of details, just the high level stuff like your Dr.'s contact info, meds you are on, drug allergies, and serious existing conditions. This information needs to be easily accessible -- not encrypted, no need for special programs, etc. Probably also means no computer/pda. Basically, what you need is a medical bracelet. :-)

If it isn't an emergency, they probably still aren't going to mess with it. It would be up to you to provide the information. If this type of device is handy for you in that context, great.

Note there is a good free encryption program called Truecrypt which you could use to encrypt any USB type drive, and it does have a "portable" mode which you can run the program from the USB drive itself.

Personally, I think it is helpful to have various personal data in a portable mechanism. I also think it is important to encrypt said data. This also goes for sensitive data on your home personal computer or laptop. Encryption is your friend! (Backups are your friend too!)

I do have a number of USB drives which I keep encrypted, but for data I really want to have with me I save it in an encrypted program on my iPod Touch (eWallet, which allows you to sync to your PC) since I have that with me and it is self contained (no external PC needed).

Note, when encrypting data on a thumb drive, consider partitioning the drive into an encrypted partition, and a non-encrypted partition and keep a copy of the encryption software on the non-encrypted partition. And remember, bigger is better. This stuff is cheap, why skimp? You should be able to pick up a 4GB stick for ~$20 at your local office store or electronics store. Considering the possibility you might break it, get two!

Encrypted USB drives allow you to have large amounts of easily transportable encrypted data (think backups of all your important data from your PC). But something like encrypted files on a PDA or similar might be a bit easier to have important data at your fingertips.



Edited by JohnN (07/17/09 05:01 PM)

#176720 - 07/17/09 06:22 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: Todd W]
big_al Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 586
Loc: 20mi east of San Diego
Is there software that you can get to put on your own USB drive?
Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way
I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

#176722 - 07/17/09 06:51 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: big_al]
Jeff_M Offline

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
Best bet: Plain metal bracelet with prominent colored "medical" symbol (red or blue swiss cross, star of life or caduceus), that doesn't look like jewelry, worn on the left wrist (since most US pre-hospiital IV's are started in the left arm, and American ambulance designs usually allow more working room on the patient's left side, it is more likely to be quickly noticed there).

All it really needs to contain are your main medical conditions or allergies, but the details should be in an easy to find location in your wallet or purse, usually immediately in front of or behind your driver's license, clearly labeled on the outside, on both sides, as "medical info" or some such, and not just some folded up scrap of paper.

A red dog tag is fairly noticeable, too, while also protecting your privacy. Sorry, but I won't be plugging any unknown usb drives into the ambulance's computer, although such a device can be tremendously useful to the patient in managing and documenting their own care.

Lastly, don't worry overmuch. The paramedics typically check things such as blood glucose routinely on any patient with altered mentation, and won't miss a diabetes related condition. Also, they should be able to recognize and effectively manage any life-threatening allergic or adverse reactions.

However, a cop or bystander might mistake a low-glucose diabetic for a drunk, or you may be in an area without advanced life support ambulance service, and, of course, the earlier we know about your condition, the better. So if you need a medical alert, wear it all the time, even t home. It does help.

Here's pretty much everything I want to know from every patient, beyond information about the current complaint:

Many prudent or experienced patients keep this information on their computer for easy updating, with printed copies to carry, give to family members, new doctors, etc. Be sure to include a "current as of __" date. I fraking love it when a patient or family member whips out one of these and hands it to me.

full legal name, and any aliases, former or nicknames that might be used on older medical or insurance records
address, permanent and current temporary local for "snowbirds" and long term visitors
telephone number(s)
date of birth
emergency contact or legal guardian/health care surrogate name, address, telephone number
full name, address, and contact information of your primary care physician and key specialists
list of all current, recurrent or chronic medical conditions
list of all current or frequently used medications, including prescription, OTC and herbal (the latter two can be very significant)
list of all medical and food allergies or adverse reactions
list of all prior surgeries, hospitalizations and major illnesses or injuries
all medical insurance, Medicare or Medicaid information (photocopy of both sides of card preferred)
If incident is job related - name, address and contact phone number of employer and/or worker's comp carrier

#176728 - 07/17/09 09:02 PM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: Jeff_M]
big_al Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 586
Loc: 20mi east of San Diego
Jeff: What do you think of this? Going on trip back east and want to carry my medical information with me.

Edited by big_al (07/17/09 09:03 PM)
Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way
I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

#176747 - 07/18/09 02:51 AM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: big_al]
barbakane Offline

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 205
Loc: Florida
I cycle quite a bit, and all I do is use a 2" x 4" label, print the pertinent info on it, apply it to the back of my license, and put a piece of clear tape over it to protect the writitng. nothin' fancy, but has all the info on something I already carry.
seeking to balance risk and reward
Audaces fortuna iuvat...fortune favors the bold
Practice methodical caution...Les Stroud

#176753 - 07/18/09 05:28 AM Re: Traveler-ER USB flash drive [Re: barbakane]
George Offline

Registered: 12/01/07
Posts: 7
Another option that I've been looking into: http://www.roadid.com

The Road ID interactive in particular.

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