The Food and Drug Administration cleared for marketing the first implantable radio frequency identification microchip for human use, an advance that essentially means patients can carry their health information wherever they go. The VeriChip Health Information Microtransponder System consists of the implantable chip, an inserter, a hand-held scanner and a secure database with a patient's approved healthcare information. The chip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the patient's skin in a minutes-long outpatient procedure with local anesthetic. It emits a radio frequency signal transmitting a unique 16-digit verification number, which can be captured by the scanner and used to access the secure database. The system's maker, Applied Digital, Delray Beach, Fla., has not disclosed a price, and a company spokesman said he couldn't say when marketing would begin. He said Applied Digital would market the scanners to hospitals ahead of the chips. -- by Cinda Becker
A portable health record stored under the skin
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