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Medical smart cards find their niche

June 14, 2011

Researchers and entrepreneurs hope to make up for the lack of integrated online patient-record systems by giving each patient a smart card containing his or her complete medical history.

Researchers in the U.K. have developed the MyCare card, which is roughly the size and shape of a credit card, with a fold-out USB plug. Another project, SmartCare, first implemented in Zambia, has recently expanded to Ethiopia and South Africa and demonstrates the potential for card-based systems in parts of the world with limited infrastructure.

However, the U.S. needs “Web-based personal health records in the cloud, available anywhere at any time without a card,”  says John Halamka, chairman of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel and CIO of both Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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