EPIC-id Emergency Tag
Charles Lee | 15th Jul 2016| NEWS
We are a fortunate bunch of folks. Despite the fact that Singapore is an extremely small city state without any resource, there is literally a system in place for the things we need! From public transportation to education, from sanitation to water and utilities, properly thought out infrastructures were built around us at such an automated pace that most of us will shudder at the slightest thought of what may happen to us if all of these are lost.
Our healthcare system is another good example of a well-established system. When we are unwell or injured, we need not have to worry one bit! Our hospitals and medical centres are largely equipped to manage every conceivable type of medical situation. We are so pampered by our healthcare services that all we need to do is to dial ‘995’ and wait for the ambulance to come and fetch us when mishaps indeed take place.
For those who are well-travelled, they understand very well that medical facilities are still severely lacking in many parts of the world. This begets two questions: What if someone is severely injured in a remote region without medical facilities at close proximity? What if the rescue personnel applied the wrong emergency treatment on that victim due to insufficient information on the victim’s medical history?
During emergencies, doing the right thing could mean a difference between life and death. Therefore, when urgent medical attention is required, it will be critical for rescue personnel or paramedics to get hold of the victim’s full medical history at the earliest possible time so that they can formulate two decisions:
(a) The nearest hospital or medical centre that houses the necessary resources to render the appropriate type of medical treatment based on the victim’s medical history; and
(b) The appropriate medical treatment to be applied to the victim while they are en-route to the designated hospital.
If you are still reading this and are pondering about how would rescue personnel be able to get hold of a person’s medical status and history, the EPIC-id will be able to tell you how!
SO, WHAT IS THE EPIC-id?
In the olden days, soldiers, backpackers and adventure-seekers wore their ID tags on their necks. We used to wear one of those during our National Service days as well! Unless you want to hang a book that depicts your life encounters with medical ailments, the small metallic tag contains, at most, information on your blood type and kinds of drug allergy that you susceptible to. You may have realised that the information in the “dog tag” is, really, not enough for rescue personnel to do more than the typical CPR and mouth-to-mouth procedures. To ensure that proper medical attention can be provided in double-quick time, we need the EPIC-id!
The EPIC-id is no rocket-science gadget. The EPIC-id is, fundamentally, an emergency ID tag in a USB flash drive! Whilst its wrist-worn feature it may be easily mistakenly for a sports band due to their similarities in terms of design, shape and size, the EPIC-id houses a number of unique characteristics that help distinguish its intended function from its fitness-oriented cousins.
The EPIC-id is made up of a USB flash drive, a silicone wrist strap and a stainless steel Click-Secure Closure that clips the strap on the wrist. A red cross motif is debossed into the surface of the Click-Secure Closure, highlighting its life-saving role. The strap is soft and stretchable. Unless permanent ink is used on it, the rubbery band can be cleaned to its original colour by using a mild detergent. The USB flash drive, which is designed to withstand corrosive liquids such as sea-water, can be easily pulled out from the Click-Secure Closure by pressing against the dual-release buttons that are found on the sides of the USB flash drive.
USING THE EPIC-id
Customising the length of the wrist strap for first-time wearers was fuss-free and intuitive. The strap was cut to fit the thickness of my wrist after being freed from the band fastener (which is on the Click-Secure Closure). Re-attaching the strap to the band fastener was as effortless.
The heart and soul of the EPIC-id lies with its ability to capture detailed digital information regarding the wearer’s health condition and medical history. Without it, the EPIC-id is only as good as a fashion accessory. I must say that I was pretty impressed by the ease of loading the EPIC-id with information about my medical history. Running on a Plug-and-Play mode, all I needed to do was to insert the USB flash drive into the USB port of my Windows-based laptop and then clicked on the EPIC-id logo that appeared after the initial installation was completed.
The interface that appeared after the clicking was aesthetically professional and organised. To simplify matters, there are only three tabs – Personal Information, Medical Information and Administrative Information. The Personal Information tab asks for general information such as address, blood type and the contact number of the next-of-kin. The Medical Information tab asks for a more in-depth set of medical-related questions. Here, I had to, among others, state the types of drugs that I am allergic to, the immunizations that I was protected with and my family medical history. The Administration Information tab asks for details of my existing insurance coverage and the contact details of te doctor that I usually go to. Saving the information before pulling out from my laptop was as intuitive as saving a piece of Microsoft Word document.
The EPIC-id is as tough as it is designed to be! The emergency tag was deliberately soaked in dirt-filled sea-water for no less than 15 minutes. It was directly placed under intense sunlight for the most part of the afternoon for a number of days. It was buried in sand at the East Coast Beach. It was roughly shoved, kicked, tossed and dropped from an adult’s height. And yet, the EPIC-id survived them all! The data that was previously saved in the USB flash drive remained intact and uncompromised.
To be frank, I was a little sceptical towards the quality of the EPIC-id before it went through its “hell week”. To me then, the EPIC-id was merely a USB flash drive. How tough could it be? Could it survive the ordeals? Could I still retrieve my information? It therefore took me by surprise when I was still able to retrieve the information that I keyed in.
Things can get unpredictable at times. This is especially so if we are in a foreign land where medical treatment may not be readily accessible. Besides insurance coverage and the usual medication travel pack, strapping the EPIC-id on the wrist will definitely instil another level of ease in us.