We Can but Should We

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We Can, But Should We?
Chamberlain College of Nursing
NR361 Information Systems in Healthcare
Kathleen Fabian, Professor
Fall B 2010

Radio frequency identification, also known as RFID, is a breakthrough in technology and could just be the next big step in surveillance. Yet, how far is one willing to go to be sure that all of their past history is accurate? This sounds a little like George Orwell’s 1984; a chip inserted into one’s skin, embedded with data that can be transferred to a reading device and be read? Someone could be able to know every little thing about another person just by transferring data; sounds a little scary.

RFID isn’t just for tracking patient’s data, according to Daniel Sieberg’s Is RFID tracking you?, “it can be used to identify missing pets, monitor vehicle traffic, track livestock to help prevent disease outbreaks, and follow pharmaceuticals to fight counterfeit drugs”. So, although this technology has been around and has been used for many different things, the question is, should someone insert this RFID VeriChip into their skin and allow another to read their data? According to msnbc.com’s article FDA approves computer chip for humans: Devices could help doctors with stored medical information, “The VeriChip itself contains no medical records, just codes that can be scanned, and revealed, in a doctor’s office or hospital. With that code, the health providers can unlock that portion of a secure database that holds that person’s medical information, including allergies and prior treatment. The electronic database, not the chip, would be updated with each medical visit.” Yet, the device could also track people’s movements and send the data to a reading device before the patient even shows up to the office or hospital. Without adequate protection, the VeriChip can cause more harm than good. Sieberg explains, “hackers and analysts are exposing potentially serious problems…hackers could copy medical information from a RFID chip.”...
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