Its size is of a grain of rice. It is surgically implanted beneath the skin of its carrier, at the back of the arm. It communicates a unique serial number when cross-examined by a nearby reading device. This serial number is then referenced in the electronic health record (EHR) to identify its bearer (Jack, 2006). VeriChip Corporation, who is the manufacturer of the chip, affirms that the VeriChip cannot be stolen, lost, counterfeited or misplaced. It goes further to advocate a variety of functions for the device. In settings of health care, the chip can help recognize a Joseph Doe or John Doe. This is in a case a patient is incapacitated or disoriented and the identity is hard to ascertain. In private facilities, the VeriChip enhances physical admission control, as it permits computerized identification of persons and trailing their whereabouts in buildings (Jerry, 2007). Use of implanted chips has some advantages. The first one is noise reduction of patient data. When having data from so many sources, it is difficult to tell what is real and what is not. This essentially gives EMR information an upper hand. Secondly RFID tags do not need line of sight for reading. The RFID reader can interpret the tags of sleeping patients in intensive care units without making changes to their bodies. Another advantage is real-time analytics. Caregivers and physicians, in most cases, do not have the time interpret the patient data. This is because of the need to make quick decisions. The EMRs assembles
data in a short time (Computerworld, Mar 15, 2004). Another advantage of use of implanted chips is that it helps in case a patient that is unconscious or confused is admitted. The patient will be scanned and his medical history can be retrieved (Jack, 2006). Another use of implanted chips is that it allows differential payments for clinical results, rather than just care volume. This comprises payment based on worth and for keeping patients away from the hospitals. Lastly, these chips promote comparative efficacy of treatments. This is evident when using actual data since time is minimal to do clinical trials on every option. But, when handling huge data sets, use of empirical trials to compare treatments head to head, practically on a constant basis is paramount, after organizing data (Jerry, 2007). On the other hand, implanted chips, like any gadget inserted into the human body, may prompt an adverse tissue reaction. This may in infection which may migrate from the first site of insertion. Another objection to the use of these chips is based on religion. Some religious individuals consider RFID the mark of the beast. They go further to say it’s a sure sign of the last days before the judgment day. The chips also pose a threat to privacy. This is because they can be tracked by the GPS system. There is also a possibility of incompatibility with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This may have adverse effects on the bearer of the chip. Lastly, humanity will be exposed to a new world order that will infringe human rights, deny them freedom and render them slaves (Computerworld, Mar 15, 2004). Conclusion The future dream of many linked health systems is the capacity to connect the electronic medical record system to a personal health record.