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USB sticks and asthma thought!

I have just been reading about medicsticks great idea but surely what about a special asthma alert one! An Asthma USB stick which people can get from AUK. People can fill their own details, medictions, NoK, allergies and even with an area that their hospital/GP can input emergency treatment protocol and contact details of the appropriate asthma team. Send the software for accessing this to every A&E and make it easily downloadable from the web and run a huge awareness campaign. Every asthmatic with one who pitches up and A&E the Drs just have to wack the stick into the computer and they have all the information at their finger tips. Having spoken to a software developer the software would not be that complicated to write, USB sticks are not that expensive and this could save lives as well as making people more aware that asthma needs to be taken seriously.

Is the idea of asthmatics around the UK carrying usb drives which say ""AUK Asthma Alert"" on one side ""asthma-stick"" on the other and hospitals knowing what to do with them and how to use them mad or a potential life saver?


13 Replies

Sounds a very good idea!

It could be very cheap as you wouln'd need anything very big megabyte wise, but a tough / waterproof case would be a good idea with a bold symbol on it.

It could be saved it .txt or .rtf format making it universally accessible of virtually every computer (.rtf I think is safer as it can't carry viruses)



I am chatting with a programmer about what would be needed programme wise. You can bulk buy USB sticks which could be customised with the AUK logo and have Asthma Alert or something on them. This idea is growing on me more and more.



I think this is a brilliant idea Bex...how clever are you? I think it would come in really useful in situations like you say like A&E where they have to ask you so many questions (and when usually its not easy to answer!).



Think is a FAB idea Bex. What about use abroad?

I agree with Kate that a pretty solid carry case would be essential - it could be this that has the logo on etc - peeps could then have different size USB sticks should they so wish - am thinking that if there are people who travel abroad a translation facility would be handy?

Am thinking out loud here - would certainly be interested in being involved with the project.



There are many issues not least of all persuading hospitals to put a USB stick into a computer! I am talking to a helpful programmer who is helping me kick ideas about it seems all problems are surmountable. One thing is I am keen that this should be an AUK thing, it would be a 1st and also raise the profile and awareness that asthma is serious it is not just a carry a blue a inhaler and it all goes away. OK so I have a vision of asthmatics carrying a little USB fob and hospitals actually being able access the vital information they need during an attack.



this is an awesome idea. ia hve seen on some website thats companies do so them as a generic medicalalert type of thing. itis not through medic alert but someone else.

i think a specific auk one would be good.

bex were you thinking of something that would only ahve certain things on them and they would be locked so detaisl could not be tampered with. because with usb things it may be not safe if it gets int the wrong hands then people would know your details.

i may ahve got the wrong sort of idea of what is ebing suggested.

i dont know if it is possible but if there was a programme where you signed up for an auk usb thing then you could submitt what you wanted on you usb thing and it could be updated from an online site whihc was secutrity protected so to speak. not sure if any of that makes sense.

like rusty would be intrested if it goes ahead to help out.



Ok, it was an idea and one I would like to see AUK explore. Maybe they have before now and ruled it out. It just seems to easy and too sensible not to be followed up. Right whose door do I knock on so to speak.



I really think this is a good idea...I can see the use of it from everyones point of view, ie from an asthma sufferers point and as a hospital workers too...It would eb such a handy device to have. It would mean not having to repeat yourself when you are short of breath and struggling to talk when you go in to hospital.

For instance, when I was admitted the other week with an asthma attack, I was admitted vis a kind of emergency place and had to try and answer their questions whilst trying to breathe etc I then had to try and answer exactly the same questions on the admissions ward and then again when I got moved to this other ward. It would certainly be of huge benefit.....The doctors/nurses etc would oly have to plug it into the computer and everything would be there..

Fab idea Bex....


Both as an asthma sufferer and a doctor I think this is a brilliant idea. Most resus rooms nowadays are equipped with computers and it would be virtually inconceivable to have a computer without a USB drive.

Another possibility for file type would be a PDF as Adobe PDF reader is on pretty much every machine I know of (as it is a free programme). PDFs are easy to create and a very stable file type.

Regarding security, that could be more tricky - some kind of password protected file? Password on a medic-alert style bracelet?

Not sure who to speak to in AUK, but as a starter for ten I'll poke Webed and ask him to have a look at this thread, see if he has any ideas :)



Cathy, thank you, I have a couple of programmers with whom I am bouncing the age old issue of security not of what it is on the stick but what could be put onto the the stick like virus, trojans etc. Its not as easy it as seems ""would your hospital stick any random USB stick into its computer?"" Its not as easy as it first sounds but I am trying to work something sensible up to pass on to AUK.



Hi Bex,

I also agree. We have patients from all over the northern region right across to the west coast & down to yorkshire so taking something like this to their local providers would help particularly when they need a letter, which often takes weeks to get there, highlighting any changes in meds.

Keep us informed.


I have seen something similar in use but was a one off personal usb which thankfully the A+ E did risk pitting into their pc.I was next to this lady who has multiple problems and carries a usb on her necklace and we talked about how this is the way to go!!

I think having one endorsed by AUK would be brilliant well done BEX lets hope this gets off the ground.


Hi Bex,

Cathbear bought this to my attention a couple of weeks back, so I consulted with some colleagues who know far more about these things than I do! They came up with the following response…

This is an interesting idea... Something similar to this is being tested by the NHS in a slightly different form - through a national electronic database of health records held on a website called Healthspace.

Healthspace is currently being tested by the NHS and aims to make a summary of your important health information, known as your Summary Care Record, available to authorised NHS staff treating you anywhere in the NHS in England. Patients will be able to access their Summary Care Record via the website.

HealthSpace is available now but unless you are in one of the five areas where it is being tested it will not yet give you access to your Summary Care Record. What Healthspace does do now is provide a place on the internet where you can store your personal health information. You can record information relating to your health like your height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Asthma UK, is monitoring the development of national electronic records like Healthspace as they go through various stages of testing in England and we will continue to keep an ear to the issues and discussions being raised about patient record confidentiality, privacy and security.

If you would like to find out more about the wider NHS’ IT programme under development visit:


If you would like to find out more or about how to register for your own HealthSpace account visit:




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