MIT develops invisible ink that stores medical records under patient's skin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers devised an alternative method to EHRs: an invisible dye that injects the patient's immunization medical records into the skin, according to a Dec. 18 study published in Science Translational Medicine.  

For the study, researchers tested a microneedle patch application on pig and rat skin. The team was able to invisibly encode vaccination history by injecting the vaccine, which comprises dye made with quantum dots technology, into the skin.  

Once administered with a microneedle patch, the vaccine/dye combination leaves behind a distinct pattern of near-infrared fluorescent particles, which show the individual's vaccination history, on the skin. The particles are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen with a smartphone app that can detect near-infrared light.

Compared to paper or electronic medical records, the platform offers various advantages including eliminating the need for a database of patient information, lack of reliance on accurate patient identification and data entry by clinicians and the ability to make rapid determinations on vaccination status, the researchers wrote.

The research team created the technology because it wanted to develop a vaccine identifier that "was invisible to the naked eye" and would avoid more privacy concerns like databases with names and identifiable data, said Ana Jaklenec, a bioengineer at MIT and co-author of the study, according to Scientific American.

Study authors concluded that the invisible, "on-body" technology creates new opportunities for decentralized data storage and biosensing applications within healthcare. Next steps include rolling out human studies to test the device.

More articles on EHRs:
Cerner integrates Change Healthcare's medical review service with EHR
CHIME: ONC's interoperability rule will leave patients' sensitive data vulnerable to consumer apps
BJC HealthCare integrates Sectra imaging software with Epic EHR

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