Science Update: Trial records

PATIENTS in the Grampian region of Scotland are taking part in a trial of optical storage technology for medical records. Canon, more famous for photocopiers and cameras, has provided 8,000 cards for the study. The size of credit cards, each one can store up to four megabytes of data, X-rays, images and fingerprints.

The trial, which will continue until 1996, echoes similar experiments taking place in Spain and the Netherlands. These aim to find out whether optical cards help to improve the health care their owners receive, by providing quick and easy access to comprehensive information on a patient. The Scottish card owners, registered with the Inverurie Health Centre, will be able to read the personal information stored on their cards.