Review: QRide Advanced Emergency ID

Being safe out on the roads is a pretty big deal for most bike commuters. Many of us wear helmets, brighten up the night with blinkies and headlights, wrap ourselves in reflectives, etc. One other safety item folks may overlook, though, is some means of communicating emergency contact or medical information to first responders in case of a crash.

There are a number of products on the market, from bracelets to shoelace tags. A new one is the QR Code-based QRide Advanced Emergency ID. Warren Schimizzi, president of QRide, Inc., graciously offered to send us a trial pack of the QRide’s “QStick” Mini Helmet Stickers for review.

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Basically, the QStick minis are a pair of thick reflective stickers with a unique QR code printed on them. On the back of the packaging is an eight-character identifying code.

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Once the QRide stickers are purchased, the user simply navigates to the QRide user submission form (on their website) and completes the fields. QRide sends a verification email and then you’re on your way! It’s really simple and takes no more than a couple minutes to activate the account.

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Why a sticker instead of a bracelet or something? Well, those of us who have emergency ID bracelets don’t always wear them. I almost never forget my helmet, however…in fact, I can only think of one time in the past decade that I forgot my helmet before getting on the bike. A helmet sticker is perfect for me! And, since the stickers come packaged as a pair, the other one can be added to something else you aren’t likely to forget. In my case, I adhered the second sticker to my Jersey Bin, which always travels with me in a jersey pocket.

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How well do they work? I scanned the stickers with the excellent QR Droid as well as Ebay’s “Red Laser” scanning utility. The QRide code scanned quickly and easily with both apps, and directed me to my personal information page instantly.

I asked Warren about concerns with information security and with HIPAA .

Jack: I want to ask how user information is secured…since it has medical info, do HIPAA concerns have any effect on what QRide does to secure the information?

Warren: Good question. The user is completely responsible for the information that is included on his or her QRide profile. We’ve placed a disclaimer at the top of the online form where this information is gathered that states all info submitted can be viewed when scanned by a smart phone and is essentially “public”. If the user is comfortable putting a certain pre-existing condition or medication (or anything else for that matter) on there they are free to do so, but none of the medical info fields on the form are required.

On the online front; we do not have an online database of users that could be compromised. Each user’s record is an individual URL. We use a large, well-established web host and have every confidence in their security protocols and firewalls. They are protected from hackers and DDoS attack (UDP flood). Their servers are fully PCI compliant to protect user’s credit card information for online purchases as well.

QRide’s QStick Minis retail for $19.95, which includes a year’s subscription to the online information record. Renewals are an additional $19.95 per year. I’d say that’s reasonably comparable to the prices other such emergency IDs charge. Where the QRide might really shine is for folks who travel a lot or relocate frequently (such as myself — with my wife in the USAF, we go where they tell us to). Buying a new bracelet every year or two with revised addresses gets expensive quickly; meanwhile, with the QRide, all you have to do is log into your account and update your info. Easy peasy.

Overall, I am quite impressed with the simplicity and ease of use of the QRide system. I hope I never have to test them FOR REAL…if you know what I mean…but if I do, I’ll be glad that first responders will have quick access to my innermost details.

QRide offers other sizes/formats of stickers. Visit their website for more details.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.


10 Comments

  1. bigbenaugust June 5, 2013 7:50 am 

    “Buying a new bracelet every year or two with revised addresses gets expensive quickly”

    … but you don’t have to hope everyone/anyone around you in the middle of nowhere has a smartphone with a QR reader.

  2. Josh June 5, 2013 8:46 am 

    You might want to blur the QR code in the photos — it’s scannable in the original size of the shot of the helmet, at least.

    As for data security, they have none. I’m not going to disclose the method here, because doing so before contacting the company with my concerns would be unethical, but if you mail me at the address attached to this comment, I’ll show you privately. Literally the first thing I tried got me access to their entire customer base’s self-reported records. A secure system would require me to scan one of their QR code stickers before getting someone’s data, or at least guess a lot of wrong URLs before stumbling on a few valid ones. Their system does not.

  3. QRide June 5, 2013 9:22 am 

    Josh,

    What you have uncovered is unacceptable and will be addressed. We would sincerely appreciate your input. Please contact me through our website so we may continue this dialog. Is there anything else that you see that would help us make our product better?

    Regards,

    Warren Schimizzi
    Founder
    QRide

  4. Josh June 5, 2013 10:35 am 

    I’ve dropped you a line using the contact form on your site.

  5. Ghost Rider June 5, 2013 11:26 am 

    Josh, thanks for the heads-up. I tried scanning the images at every size that Flickr offers, but could not get it to work. I wonder if your phone (or screen) has higher resolution than mine?

    Off to blur the code.

  6. Kim June 6, 2013 4:03 pm 

    My concern here is that first responders have too manu things going on to whip out a phone, find a QT code reading app, and scan that code. If they even know it’s there. The reasons the braclets and neck pendants work is that EMTs know where to look. Where is it? On the helmet? On the bike? On the wallet? If it’s not standardized, it’s not going to work. If you have a patient that is non-responsive and in need of immediate care, chasing down information means it’s not going to happen. They’re just going tongo with standard protocol. EMTs are going to need training to look for these things, and there needs to be consensus on where to find them. If an accident hasn’t destroyed them/rendered them unreadable.

    And with the medical information available online, why not just use QR code generator and keep it under 256 characters, then print the information on your own sticker or label? You keep your medical information off yet another server, you can update it any time you like, and it’s almost free.

    This has a long way to go to be marketable.

  7. Ghost Rider June 6, 2013 7:15 pm 

    Kim — to be honest, that’s been my concern with the traditional bracelets. Are first responders going to a)recognize a bracelet for what it is and b) have the time to call a phone number and wade through the prompts to get to the information they need?

    At least the QRide has a very clear EMT symbol on it, which I don’t recall seeing on any bracelets short of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” variety. My RoadID certainly doesn’t have anything that stands out as “look at me and call my number”…it just looks like a rubber bracelet.

  8. QRide June 7, 2013 6:29 am 

    Kim, those are all valid concerns. We simply want to give folks another emergency ID option. No one can guarantee that any ID will be 100% effective 100% of the time. We made our IDs this way for a number reasons:

    1. Make it so you can identify someone without having to move them if found unconscious.

    2. Allow access to ID with a smartphone since the first person to encounter an accident victim will almost always be someone OTHER than a first responder.

    3. Make it hard to forget (If you grab your helmet, you know you have you ID).

    4. Allow the information to be edited by the user when any emergency info changes.

    The development of QRide as a helmet sticker set was actually a suggestion from one of the EMTs that we consulted with during our design phase. The overall look and most of the information that we suggest users put in their profile was also based on what we gathered from our First Responder team. When an EMT arrives at the scene to care for an unresponsive person, they will ask any conscious person if they know the unconscious person. This is so they can gather any info about what may have caused this person to become unresponsive. Our goal is to provide a tool that could help anyone who comes to your aid pass your emergency info to the EMTs when you are unable. “I don’t know her, but I found this on her helmet and here’s what it says”.

    Kim, I sincerely hope this (lengthy) rambling helped ease some of your concerns that you expressed about our product and what we’re trying to accomplish with it. Thank you for checking us out!

  9. Bikehound June 9, 2013 9:43 am 

    I like the concept of the idea, but I would be a bit concerned not everyone would be able to access the data without a smartphone.

  10. SteveT June 10, 2013 6:39 am 

    Like the idea – any plans for the UK?
    On the various concerns over the practicality of the product:-
    1) I don’t think it’s a great drawback that the first person on the scene may not have a smartphone – he/she doesn’t need one surely? The immediate concern should be first aid and summoning help – the ID of the victim is not relevant.
    2) If the product gains even limited use, I don’t think it would take long for first responders to get used to checking for a sticker.

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