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VeriChip Markets Its Implantable RFID Tags and Services Direct to Consumers
The company has launched a three-month advertising campaign for its newly rebranded Health Link system, and hopes to convince 1,000 South Floridians to get injected with rice-grain-sized transponders linked to health records.
In 2007, Alzheimer's Community Care (ACC)—a West Palm Beach, Fla., provider of support to Alzheimer's patients and their caretakers—began implanting RFID chips in about 200 volunteers who are clients of the organization (see Alzheimer's Care Center to Carry Out VeriChip Pilot). That pilot is still ongoing, according to Silverman.
Because only 600 people currently have the chips, Silverman says, hospital personnel interrogating patients' arms are unlikely to detect any embedded tags. As such, making the scanning process an automatic part of the check-in procedure for incapacitated patients is a challenge. Silverman indicates he expects that problem to be alleviated as more consumers opt to have the implants done. "That's been part of the frustration we have today," Silverman says. "We need examples of the system saving lives." To date, he explains, there haven't been enough chips in use for that to happen.
HealthLinkinfo.com, and television ads in southern Florida's tri-county area displaying the 800 number and promoting the health advantages of having an RFID chip implanted in one's arm. "We intend to appeal through advertising to high-risk patients and their loved ones," Silverman states. The 30- and 60-second ads will air for three months, and the company also intends to run newspaper ads in the Florida Sun Sentinel and Palm Beach Post.
Silverman hopes to enroll at least 1,000 new participants in the Health Link system. If he reaches that number, he says, he will consider the campaign a success. After three months, if the campaign is successful, VeriChip plans to expand the Health Link system to other regions of the country, most likely beginning in northern New Jersey, where a relatively large percentage of hospitals participate in the VeriMed system.
"Assuming we reach our goal of 1,000, we are prepared to expand," Silverman says, noting that HearUSA has locations throughout the country. "There are lots of companies we could work with." He adds, "If, three months from now, nobody gets the chip, we will have to look at our business model."
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