You would think that someone with artificial body parts would keep a pretty good record of what was stuck inside them. But apparently this isn't always case, so a New Jersey orthopedic surgeon is marketing a special RFID tag just for body parts, loaded with the vital data doctors might need down the road.
If something goes wrong with your laptop or TV it's pretty easy to give the repair shop the model and serial number, but things aren't quite so easy if it's an artificial hip or shoulder.
Dr. Lee Berger says he's become frustrated with patients who lose track of their medical records, leaving him trying to figure out what they had done from a fuzzy x-ray. His Ortho-Tag system fits a tiny RFID tag right on the artificial part, with information like the model and date of installation, the pressure and temperature near the device, and any signs of a local infection. The information can be read by a scanner held near the skin, without resorting to cutting open the patient to take a peek.
Developed by Professor Marlin Mickle at the University of Pittsburgh, Ortho-Tag should be available soon from several leading manufacturers of artificial body parts.
Now all we need is for the patients to actually remember that they have the special tagged parts.