Google may have given up on trying to get people to use personal health records, but startups sure haven’t. They’re making them mobile, embedding them into social platforms and now turning them into wallet-sized cards that doctors can swipe.
LifeNexus, the maker of the personal health card that lets consumers carry their medical information with them at all times, has just brought in $2.2 million from 16 investors, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. CEO David Strand told the San Francisco Business Times in August that 2,000 cards were already on the market in Washington, and another 2,000 were contracted to go out the following month.
People who buy the card begin by entering up to six people’s medical histories, prescriptions, emergency contacts and health insurance information into computer software that comes with the card. They then upload that information to the card’s proprietary iChip technology using a card reader that comes with it.
Care providers who want to accept the cards do so by installing LifeNexus’ Rapid Admissions System terminal at their practices or hospitals, and patients insert their cards and enter their PIN to allow access. It can also work as a prepaid card to help people manage health-related spending.
The value proposition here, aside from the convenience factor, is that a person’s information is stored and shared via a chip, rather than on the Internet. Privacy and security is one of the factors that’s been behind the slow public adoption of PHRs.
Consumers have also reported that the inconvenience of having to enter all of their own information has discouraged use. However, many say they would start using a PHR under certain circumstances, like if a provider recommended it or if they had a chronic health issue. Revenue generated by PHRs is expected to grow over the next three years.
Because its widespread use would require buy-in from certain groups of patients and providers, one key question about LifeNexus’s health cards is, how does it interface with EMRs? A company spokesman did not return a request for more information.
The company was founded in 2005 and is based in San Francisco. If you recognize the name of the CEO, David Strand, it’s because he is the former chief operating officer at the Cleveland Clinic.
[Photo from LifeNexus]