The future is here!
Actually it’s in Germany, but close enough. The German government and their public-private partnership health care system has introduced electronic health insurance cards that not only hold your billing information and insurance information, it holds your important medical information. Why is this important?
Imagine you are in an accident and you arrive at the hospital unconscious. That is pretty bad in itself, however, more importantly you are allergic to a common pain medicine and you are unable to alert the doctors treating you. If you are given this drug your body will get into all kinds of trouble, severely lowering your chances of survival. You were alone in the car and thus no one else are able to tell the doctors about this either. However, because you are in Germany and you have an electronic health insurance card the doctors simply read the information in the computer chip embedded in your card and thus avoid using the wrong medication on you.
Another scenario: You and your spouse are on vacation and you have an accident. Your spouse is not a particularly sick individual, but she is in her 70s and is on a rather extensive drug regiment. In the confusion of it all, neither of you are able to remember the different medications she takes, and the doctor ends up giving her something that has a bad reaction with her regular medication. Because the doctor lacks information, what started as an undramatic trip to the hospital ends up being very serious.
It is for reasons such as these that the technological development in Germany is important. I am no doctor, but I do know that the more information your doctor has about your health the better he or she can treat you. If Minnesota and the country as a whole want to get serious about lowering health care costs, this innovation should be seriously considered.