We’re all guilty of it to some degree or another. There is something about human nature that allows us to witness tragic events happen to people all around us, yet somehow we maintain the belief that it could never happen to us.
Until it does.
It’s been over a year and a half since my head-on collision with a Dodge truck that drove over a concrete median and ran into oncoming traffic (me.) It wasn’t a surprise, in the sense that I knew what was going to happen the moment I saw that truck careen out of its lane. You know how people describe “life flashing before one’s eyes” in a single moment? Imagine a full five seconds of that as you stare at fate torpedoing toward you.
I was definitely being watched over that day, as some responders were very surprised to find me in one piece. Health shouldn’t be an afterthought, especially when you have friends and family who care. As we get older, our health becomes more important as it also tends to get a bit more complicated. But that’s life.
When I first encountered the myID Personal Identification Bracelet, a quick glance was all I needed to understand the purpose. An ID bracelet with a scannable QR code and unique ID? What a brilliant way to improve upon the simple medical ID bracelets of old with the use of modern technology. Needs change as we age, so why shouldn’t our quick-access medical information too?
The myID package itself contains all the instructions on the inside flap. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Inside the box you get emergency medical identification stickers, a card, the bracelet, and a sizing band to set a proper fit.
The bracelet feels made of the same material as those bands you can get to support various causes. It’s reasonably lightweight with a secure metal clasp. The back of the metal slider shows the QR code as well as unique ID, unique PIN, and toll-free number.
People can either scan the QR code or call in to access the information you’ve made available. The front of the slider has a symbol of Asclepius engraved on it to make it known an ID bracelet.
Like watches, and the myID bracelet is no different in terms of knowing it’s there. You’re always going to feel this on your wrist, but that’s ok by me. It’s not heavy or uncomfortable. If you don’t like wearing it, you can use the included stickers or cards.
The bracelet and QR code is simply a means to an end. Technically, one doesn’t even need the bracelet since you can sign up for the service and features separately. You can even use the free myID app to present a scannable QR code image on your smartphone’s lock screen.
The value that I see with the myID Personal Identification Bracelet is the ability to maintain a health profile that changes as your life does. More importantly, it’s openly accessible in times of need.
Registration is quick and simple. Once your profile has been created you can input, edit, or delete additional information about yourself: medical conditions, allergies, medications, physicians, address, emergency contacts, and insurance.
All of these things aren’t as possible to put on a traditional medical ID bracelet. myID bands can be added or deleted from your profile in case you lose (important) or want to get a new one.
Although it can be entered into your online profile, laser-engraved metal sliders can be purchased to go right on the band. It gives people an immediate heads up about specific conditions one might have. Serious ones like alzheimers, dementia, epilepsy, and more.
The first year of service is free, and the cost of having more than your basic identifying information is $10 each year after. I think it’s a fair price and small sacrifice (about two coffees a year.)
Does it Work?
Speed of accessing the information is dependent on the QR scanning app you use a well as your hardware. Older or weaker camera phones might not scan on the first try. But I can attest my older Samsung Galaxy S2 has had no problem.
The QR scanning app I use is QR Droid. It launches quickly and is ready to scan immediately without having to press any menu or action buttons.
Scanning the QR code opens your device’s browser straight to myidband.com, where you enter in the ID and PIN to view the information. It may not seem like a big deal, but scanning is faster than typing (or even swyping) in times of duress. Scanning the QR code can be done by anyone. The 800 number is supposed to be reserved for medical personnel.
Calling the number immediately connects you with a representative. After a short conversation, I realized that number is really only meant for EMTs and first responders, not civilians or hospital personnel.
It’s sort of equivalent to dialing 911. While the person on the other line was polite, I could tell my non-emergency call was a nuisance. But from the way it sounded, EMTs are supposed to be trained to phone in when they encounter such medical ID bracelets out in the field.
Even though I know that in our medical system “by the book” doesn’t always overlap with “actual practice,” I also know that first responders and EMTs aren’t genies that can just poof right to the scene of an emergency.
In the minute or two it takes for licensed help to arrive, someone there can check a profile for any must-know information such as required medications, medicinal allergies, or if one is a “bleeder.”
With the way that technology pervades our individual lives, I would expect future generations of medical professionals to be more aware of and proficient with tech that’s designed to promote health or assist in emergencies.
Cynics might be likely to say that the myID Personal Identification Bracelet is a waste, and that if something happened we’d either be dead on the spot or the person helping us wouldn’t care about the bracelet. While those are possibilities, I disagree that they’re the only ones to happen in any situation.
Accidents and health complications can be extremely unpredictable. I don’t believe that the 30 seconds (or less) it takes to look up the information is a waste of time. I’ll take the improved odds of receiving critical assistance in a situation by making my relevant health information available. The myID service does just that, be it through the QR code or 800 number. Engraved metal ID bracelets simply can’t match that amount of information, and they certainly can’t be updated on the fly.
But more importantly, I find that wearing the myID bracelet helps to serve as a constant reminder to tend to my own personal health. Once something becomes a habit, you don’t even think about it since it’s part of your lifestyle. Much like wearing a seatbelt, the myID Personal Identification Bracelet takes almost no time but can mean the difference between life and death.