MV Santé issues both barcode and a wearable card within 48 hours for as little as CHF 5.00. Click on the logo below to go to their website:
A safer way to ski – Put contact and medical information in a barcode on your ski helmet to be scanned in case of an accident.
The terrible skiing accident that injured Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher last month has caused a jump in the sale of ski helmets. Now there is a new idea to protect skiers and snowboarders even further. The innovation being tested at the Nendaz (VS) ski resort this winter places a barcode sticker on ski helmets that can be read by smartphone cameras.
The information encoded in a Quick Response (QR) barcode would include all relevant medical data such as allergies, blood type and emergency contact numbers. The information would originally be entered by the helmet’s wearer, and can be read by anyone with an App to read QR codes.
An ambulatory surgery clinic in Sion, MV Santé Artemed, came up with the idea following an increase in ski and snowboard accidents in recent years. The lift operator TéléNendaz expressed interest and in early December persuaded about 100 skiers to start putting barcodes on their helmets. Thankfully, there have been no serious accidents in Nendaz this season but simulated accidents have impressed participants, whether skiers or rescue workers, who agree it is a simple and efficient method to quickly assist someone who may have lost consciousness or be unable to talk.
MV Santé decided to adapt their existing system known as Ma Mémoire Médicale. which gives clients an electronic card containing all their medical information, so the client doesn’t have to rely on personal memory. MV Santé, working in cooperation with hospitals HUG in Geneva and CHUV in Lausanne, stores the information in a central database, but notes on its website that the data cannot be accessed either by an employer or an insurance company.
Nicole Glassey, the head nurse at MV Santé said that virtually anyone with a smartphone can read the barcode, which will only contain information provided by the person ordering it. “The goal is to save lives and not lose time.”
David Kestens of Leukerbad Tourismus agrees that a barcoded helmet could be a good solution, “as long as the barcode can be read by anyone with an existing QR system on a normal smartphone”.
Asked if he had any privacy concerns, veteran Verbier mountain guide Bertrand Martenet said, “this is clearly not a problem, since people decide themselves what information they want to provide”. According to Martenet, more people are now wearing helmets although guides like himself do not do so. “We need to be constantly aware of everything going on around us so that we can protect the people we are guiding,” he said.
According to Kestens, “about 80% of skiers in Leukerbad wear helmets”. He added that although most ski accidents are covered by health-insurance companies through an employer, “some employers forbid dangerous sports”.
MV Santé’s Glassey believes the barcoded helmet could also be useful for children. “Although they are not usually skiing alone, there are cases of children wandering off at a ski school or getting lost. With a barcode affixed to the child’s helmet, a parent can be informed by telephone if there is any type of problem.”
MV Santé promises to respond within 48 hours to anyone who get in contact, and to send them a barcode sticker and a wearable card for as little as CHF 5.