Could your bus pass one day save your life? That is the vision of technology entrepreneur Chris Curry who is pioneering a pilot programme to explore the potential use of the humble bus pass as a powerful multi-function personal data bank.
The results of the Cambridgeshire Care Card trial will define how it will be adopted as a national care card and could transform future care delivery in the UK.
Bus pass holders simply register online and provide details of their personal medical data, such as their NHS number, medication, chronic conditions, allergies, and even information about who feeds their pets and volunteers who visit them, or who they may visit as volunteers. The card is activated with a reader at a library and paramedics, as well as first aiders in supermarkets, will be provided with card readers to access this information during an emergency which could potentially save their life if they suddenly have a stroke, for example. There is also potential for the data to be transferred onto a plastic wrist tag if a bus pass holder is suddenly admitted to A & E.
The beauty of this system is that it is a cost-saving way of introducing an ID card as the bus pass is funded by the Department of Transport and there is ample storage room left on the card to provide additional data. Other local authorities in the UK have keenly shown an interest to adopt the card in their areas, including York, Northampton and Norfolk, before the trial has been completed and evaluated, which is due to happen at the end of the year.
Chris believes the success of the card is due to the control which the card holder has in deciding what information he stores on the card, it is this “bottom up” management style that makes it so appealing, rather than users having it forced on them by the government for their unpopular proposed ID card which was scrapped.
He has found no difficulty in gaining support from older people for the trial. “Most people over 65 have not the slightest care who see their health data, they prefer to have the information available for somebody to read if they fall or have a stroke while out shopping. As well as paramedics, we hope that first aiders in supermarkets will have card readers because the chances are an older person always carries his bus pass in his wallet and this could be potentially life saving if it enables swift medical action to be taken,” he said.
Chris is passionate about improving and empowering the lives of the retired population through technology. The card is one part of his vision for Community Interest Companies, which he has called Blue Fish, and describes as the “cusp of a social revolution” for retirees through its powerful time banking trading platform and coordination of volunteers across the country.
If you own a bus pass and live in the Huntingdon area and wish to take part in the trial, you can find details here and here. You can also register if you wish to support the scheme as a buddy, visiting bus pass holders in their homes if they need assistance with registering for the trial.