March 2008 Issue
As John Boyd watched the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unfold on his TV screen in 2005, his thoughts turned to those whose lives depended on the medication that had washed away with everything else they owned.
“Here you had people who just lost their house or a loved one. Understandably, medicine was the last thing on their minds,” Boyd says. “Not to mention the fact that many were in shock and weren’t in a position to recall the list of pills they take or when they had last taken them.”
The Columbus resident, 65, put his computer know-how to work and founded Critical Medical Information, a Web site providing easy access to medical history.
Site subscribers can store health information for themselves and up to five family members, ranging from allergies and prescriptions to dates of previous doctor visits and scanned images of EKGs and MRIs. All data can be downloaded on a provided flash drive they can carry with them. (Accounts are protected by a password to ensure privacy.) Clients receive an emergency capsule to hold essential medical information that can be worn as a necklace or on a keychain.
“Imagine going to your doctor’s office and not having to play 20 questions,” Boyd says. “All the staff has to do is plug in the flash drive. Vital statistics are right there ready to be printed out.”
The Web site also offers the opportunity to create a state-specific living will and durable power of attorney.
“I know instances where people have gone into comas and didn’t leave instructions about treatment,” Boyd says. “Filling out these forms online helps others understand your wishes.”