“One size fits all” may work for baseball caps or socks, but products and services touted as universal solutions face challenges of individual size, preference, and a myriad of choice factors. Regardless of application, wearable tech faces the all-versus-many question: “Do you make one product for everyone or narrow the niche for targeted marketing?” Mobile health tech developers and designers, whether their products are used for fitness, health, communication, or whim, have to understand that while a portion of their potential market may enthusiastically starting using a wristband, clothing clip-on, earring, or smart card, others will turn away.

Telemedicine technology and services company, TelaCare, recently introduced ViewMyID, a fully customizable medical ID system. Patients use ViewMyID to store, manage, and allow access to health information. Typical application scenarios include emergencies when first responders or EMR personnel can use the system to access information on a patient’s medical conditions, history, and medication, whether or not the patient is conscious or lucid. Users can choose among bracelets, necklaces, cards, and TeleCare’s mobile app to store their data. Patients also control which information is public and which is kept private. According to TeleCare CEO Larry Jones, “Patients control and update their medical profiles, which can include basics like name, age, weight, blood type and health insurance, down to details on life-threatening or life-altering conditions, medications, legal documents including organ donor cards, and images such as X-rays, ECGs and CT scans.”

The concepts of multiple device formats and user information control have design and development considerations. Entering, storing, managing, and accessing data on multiple platforms is a technical challenge. Allowing users to configure personal and medical information runs contrary to designer and programmer preference for data “neatness.” There are even potential security and HIPAA-compliance issues when data’s front and back doors are both open, even just a bit. It’s the familiar camel’s nose under the tent issue and in this case the whole camel fully in the tent could threaten data integrity and security. Absent a universal medical ID system, however, giving users a choice of devices and control of information that is, after all, about them, look like smart steps toward greater ID system adoption.