Currently, stores like Wal-Mart are using radio frequency identification tags called RFIDs to help speed up shipping systems by sending out signals that can be scanned more easily than bar codes. These devices are now being considered as a way to help emergency room doctors get quick access to records of chronically ill patients. The device would be the size of a grain of rise implanted under a patient’s skin with a needle.

There are some problems with the device that need to be worked out first. The main problem is protecting the privacy of the information stored in the chip. The chip, called VeriChip by its designer Applied Digital Solutions, contains a unique code that unlocks a patient’s stats from a central database. Money is another problem. Currently, the scanners cost $1-2,000.

There are also health concerns such as it potentially shifting into other parts of the body, despite their small size and the fact that they are designed to stay in place. They may also interfere with the operation of electrical devices such as defibrillators. There is also no telling of their impact on the use of prescription drugs. Also, people may have an objection to being fitted with a chip under their skin. As with all new technology, this will probably be only a temporary problem. For now, though, the product remains a tool for businesses alone.

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