BACKGROUND TO THE DEBATE: In 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a radiofrequency identification (RFID) device that is implanted under the skin of the upper arm of patients and that stores the patient's medical identifier. When a scanner is passed over the device, the identifier is displayed on the screen of an RFID reader. An authorized health professional can then use the identifier to access the patient's clinical information, which is stored in a separate, secure database. Such RFID devices may have many medical benefits--such as expediting identification of patients and retrieval of their medical records. But critics of the technology have raised several concerns, including the risk of the patient's identifying information being used for nonmedical purposes.