Positive ID Seeks Diabetic Guinea Pigs for Chip Implant Study

Last Updated Jan 2, 2011 12:25 AM EST

PositiveID (PSID) is to begin a study of its Health Link implantable microchip in diabetic, hypertensive and obese patients.

The study --like everything else associated with the company formerly known as VeriChip -- is bound to be controversial. The Health Link chip is implanted under a patient's skin. It can be scanned to access the patient's online medical records. The company's critics fear the chip will one day become mandatory, leading to a complete loss of medical privacy, or that Americans will be unable to receive healthcare unless they get chipped.

BNET has noted that PositiveID also owns a credit monitoring and identity-theft prevention company, Steel Vault, and that it envisions its chips being linked to Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and employers. PositiveID linked credit monitoring and the Health Link chip in its most recent 10-Q.

While PositiveID's press release gives few specifics, it indicates that the study will have something to do with the Health Link chip and customers of HealthScreenDirect, a company that offers screening for diabetes and high cholesterol. Its says the study will be:

... a prospective, randomized, comparative clinical study that will seek to address improving disease management through the use of appropriate, concise, and up-to-date patient health information available to both practitioners caring for diabetic, hypertensive and obese patients and the patients themselves through the utilization of PositiveID's personal health record (Health Link) and an electronic medical records system.
PositiveID CEO Scott R. Silverman said in the statement that the study will also advance the company's in-development glucose-sensing chip. Silverman is doubtless hoping that patients with the chip -- and with their health records online -- will have better outcomes in terms of managing their diabetes than those doing it the old-fashioned way.

The unanswered question is why health record access -- or even a microchip -- might improve outcomes for diabetics. Generally, diabetics regularly monitor their own blood glucose and take insulin or other drugs as required. How PositiveID envisions online electronic medical records fitting into the equation is unclear.