Use a keychain photo viewer (or a Zune, iPhone, iPad) to store medical information

Recently, my wife had to be taken to the hospital via a call to 911.  When the ambulance arrived, they had lots of questions about my wife and her medical history.  Fortunately, I had all of the information they needed already printed for them.  I keep our medical history and all of our current medications in a OneNote notebook.  I also copy the information to my Evernote so it can be gotten to via the web.  I even went so far as to convert it to PDF and stored it on my Palm Pre.  So, I can access that information pretty much anywhere I need it.  Since I have my OneNote notebook organized in a manner that makes getting to this information easy, I was able to print out the necessary info very quickly.  But, it occurred to me, while waiting at the hospital ER that not everyone uses Evernote or OneNote and may not have as capable a Smartphone as the Palm Pre.  So, I got to thinking:  how could the most important information be carried around easily enough.

The answer is actually pretty easy. There are tons of ways to do this and a variety of means are available.  Everything from iPads, iPhones, Pre’s and other such devices can run database apps or even Evernote or OneNote clients.  They can get to the web.  But…there is also a family of devices that are cheap and pocketable and can also carry this data with the help of a free piece of software.

The device: a cheap keychain photo viewer.  The software:  JPEGBOOK (go here and scroll to the bottom to download.)

Here’s what you do:

  1. download and install jpegbook from the link above.
  2. install the software that came with the photo viewer, if any
  3. open jpegbook and enter the data in the text area OR you can prepare a document with all of the data and then use jpegbook to convert it to images
  4. start the transfer software and import the resulting image files from jpegbook
  5. transfer the images
  6. on the device, you should be able to scroll through the images

jpegbookjpegbook has a preview feature that will show you how it will break up your text. You may have to experiment a bit with the format and the resolution.  Most of the viewers are something like 128 x 128.  Play around until you get the best results and proceed with the steps above.

The photo viewers are small and have rechargeable batteries.  You will have to connect the device to your computer once a week or so to keep it charged, but this should not present much of a problem.  Most of these things can be had for under twenty dollars and, if you shop judiciously, you can find them for under ten.  Target frequently has them on sale and/or clearanced. This is a cheap, easy and quick way to maintain this very important information.  There are a few services available as well as dedicated devices that provide the same functionality.  But, if you cannot afford or simply don’t want to go that route, then the keychain viewer is a great alternative.  Just remember, these things provide NO security, so keep that in mind and they are quite small and easy to lose. 

You can use jpegbook to create images in a variety of sizes, so you can apply this technique to Zunes, iPods, iPads, iPhones and pretty much any device that displays jpg files.

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