Newark, N.J. - Chronically ill Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey members and emergency room physicians can now access health histories and records, along with other important information, with a quick scan. The Newark, N.J.-based insurer announced a two-year collaboration with Hackensack, N.J.-based Hackensack University Medical Center, its physicians and the VeriChip Corp., Delray Beach, Fla., to implant FDA-approved microchips in chronically ill patients enabling emergency room physicians to access those patients' medical record electronically. The microchips provide immediate access to family contact information and information about the patients' medical histories.Horizon BCBSNJ will make the new technology, developed by VeriChip, available to select members with chronic conditions. Those members who participate in the program will agree to have an implantable radio frequency identification device (RFID), the size of a grain of rice, placed under their skin.

VeriChip calls the RFID a personal health record module. The information on the module will include medical information from Horizon BCBSNJ's claim records, such as lab test data and pharmacy prescription information. This module emits a 16-digit number that links the patient to their electronic medical record when a hand-held scanner is waved over it.

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