Insurance companies can now subscribe to an information database which will provide a policyholder’s medical records and history in an emergency.
The system, Retrieve, has been devised and launched by two hospital doctors concerned that insufficient medical information often causes delays and trauma in accident and emergency situations.
The service allows rapid access to subscribers’ medical records via a 24-hour helpline. Each subscriber completes a detailed medical questionnaire and this information is stored in a secure computer system, for release only to authorised medical personnel.
Emergency medical staff identify a subscriber by means of a key tag and card which bear a unique membership number and security code. Once contacted, staff can verify the caller’s identity and fax through medical records.
Dr David Perl, a director of IntraNetAssist, the company that designed and launched Retrieve, said: “We have had a lot of interest from medical insurers about this system.” He added: “We have had meetings with BUPA about subscribing to this service.”
Perl said: “We are hoping to get a number of health insurers on board. They would pay a one-off fee and their members details can be added to our records. These insurers are promoting themselves as caring companies that have their customers’ welfare at heart. Although most do not provide cover for A&E, it is in their policyholders’ interests that any emergency treatment is carried out without delay.”
Currently individuals can subscribe to Retrieve for £25 a year. Discounts are available for family membership and IntraNetAssist is also marketing the service to companies to register their employees.