Article by Ram Venkataraman
Medical bracelets have been around for years, even decades. The basic idea is that, in emergency situations when the person is unable to communicate effectively, the bracelet can provide key information to paramedics and doctors that is potentially life-saving. As such, medical bracelets can provide some peace of mind to the wearers and their family members.
MediRead, a recently launched medical bracelet, provides a clever and low-cost alternative to more traditional forms. It works in conjunction with a free Android app of the same name which is used to read and update the user’s information on the bracelet. All that is required is for someone in the medical team to have an NFC-enabled Android phone, which are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Paramedics and doctors simply need to scan the bracelet with their smartphones for about three seconds for the wearer’s information to be displayed on the phone. The app does not even need to be open at the time.
What makes it so effective ?
MediRead does not require internet connectivity to work as the data is stored directly on the bracelet. There are no service providers to contact and no reliance on third-party data stores. All this could be very useful in areas where mobile signals are poor or non-existent.
The MediRead bracelet does not need a battery and thus, there is no danger of forgetting to charge it. Made of silicone rubber and fully sealed, it is also waterproof.
The ease and speed of access and the utility of the app make it an attractive product. It is cost-effective too, as there are no ongoing subscription fees – the bracelet is a one-off purchase.
Who would it be useful for ?
- Elderly people who are reasonably independent, especially those on multiple medications and/or who have allergies.
- Those engaging in outdoor pursuits such as hill-walking, trekking or skiing
- People going on cruises or travelling in remote locations
- Anyone, including young adults or children, with life-threatening conditions or severe allergies
How is the data recorded on the bracelet ?
Getting the wearer’s details onto the bracelet is an easy process. Information is entered on the phone using the simple and intuitive MediRead app interface and written onto the MediRead bracelet by tapping with the smartphone and holding for 2-3 seconds. The wearer does not necessarily need to carry a smartphone – a family member or carer can download the app and enter the medical details on the wearer’s behalf.
What information can be stored ?
While it does not constitute a full medical record, all information that may be essential in emergency situations can easily be stored and displayed. This includes:
- the person’s name, age and blood type
- GP contact details
- emergency contact number(s)
- a full list of medications, dosage and schedule
- any allergies and their symptoms
- additional information indicating any non-obvious condition that would be useful to medical staff.
The MediRead bracelet and app can also be of use in non-emergency situations.
One of the most common causes of hospital re-admissions is the patient not adhering to the proper medication schedule. It is a well-known fact that many patients, particularly the elderly, regularly forget to take their full complement of medicines at the appointed times. The MediRead app provides a function that brings up notifications, optionally with an audible alarm, at set times before and after meals, reminding the user of the medications to be taken at that time. The user can then tick these off, upon which a simple log is maintained of the last time each medicine was taken. The latter could be of use to carers or family members wishing to monitor this aspect. Indeed, the reminders can also be set on the carer’s phone to ensure the wearer does not simply ignore them.
Readily accessible information
The information stored on the MedIread bracelet is also useful for doctors making home visits or when the patient is travelling, at which times the NHS systems may not be accessible
Complications due to medication errors, whilst relatively rare in hospitals and care homes, can have fatal consequences. The MediRead bracelet and app could provide an additional means for nursing staff to ensure that the correct medications are being administered.
Another nifty feature of the app is the ability to email the stored information easily, perhaps to a doctor, pharmacist or carer, rather than list them out over the phone, thus saving time and reducing errors.
The MediRead app is available as a free download for users of the bracelet and for medical and emergency staff. For those wishing to avail of the reminders facility without purchasing the bracelet, the app can be downloaded standalone and the reminder function activated via an in-app purchase.
The MediRead bracelet is available in various sizes and colours.
Further information is available at www.mediread.com. MediRead currently retails at £15.95 + P&P.