Stimulus funds inspire relaunch of implantable chip

By Bernie Monegain
10:57 AM
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The VeriChip Corp., a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems for healthcare, is relaunching its VeriMed Health Link electronic health records system, which includes the implantable VeriChip.

Scott R. Silverman, VeriChip's executive chairman, has resumed the role of CEO of the company.

Company officials say they have begun a process to ensure that the company's EHR is compliant with certifications set by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, thereby enabling physicians and hospitals using the VeriChip EHR to qualify for stimulus funding.

VeriChip's history and expertise in patient identification and EHRs will position it to benefit from stimulus funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, company officials said in making the announcement.

"For years, VeriChip has been an outspoken proponent of a nationwide, interoperable electronic health records system to decrease medical errors, reduce costs for providers and insurers and ensure the best standard of care for patients," Silverman said, "Since our FDA clearance in 2004, we have been recognized as a leader in patient identification and electronic medical records and have played a significant role in their evolution."

VeriChip received FDA clearance in 2004 for its VeriMed Health Link patient identification system, incorporating the implantable RFID microchip (the VeriChip), a handheld scanner for emergency room personnel and an online, electronic, personal health record. The company changed the name of the system to Health Link in early 2008 and has enrolled 536 patients in the Health Link EHR, according to officials.

In July 2008, the company sold a significant portion of its assets to The Stanley Works and substantially diminished its marketing efforts related to the Health Link system. In November 2008, Silverman purchased a majority ownership position in the company. Since then, management has examined a wide array of business opportunities including, but not limited to, relaunching the Health Link EHR. In July 2009, the company received $4.4 million previously held in escrow related to The Stanley Works transaction.

"As the company moves forward with a comprehensive platform of identification technologies and tools, starting the process with our existing Health Link EHR is only logical," Silverman said.