A friend shared with me a press release from Medic Alert, one of several companies that offer medical ID bracelets and ways to help patients get health info to medical staff:
Under the program, patients sign up to get a MedicAlert bracelet and then can submit any information they want responders to know about their medical condition and history, such as pre-existing conditions, as well as physician names, addresses, phone numbers, family members and other emergency contacts.
That information is transmitted to RapidSOS, which digitizes the information and puts it in a database, says Michael Martin, CEO at RapidSOS.
When a patient is in need, the health and personal information is digitally available to 911 personnel through the computer system in the ambulance so they can immediately start treatment.
From the perspective of a parent with a medically-complicated kiddo, I can see lots of good things about this — for one thing getting more info than you can fit on a band into the hands of doctors. As my DD heads off to college, I want to know that if she's in an accident, someone with knowledge about her health issues can speak up for her.
Before I do something like this with any company, though, I'd want to ask questions …
- This is a partnership with another company.
- How will this info be shared and used?
- Who will have access to it?
- What sort of safeguards is in place to protect my DD's health info?
- Can I opt out of sharing info with organizations if I so choose?
- Can I periodically review what gets shared?
- Can I correct any errors that may be in my DD's record?
- Can I see both what I submit and what an EMT or 911 operator might see on their screens?
On the whole, I think this has some promise! I know I've asked my county's 911 service if there's any way to flag my DD's asthma, allergies and bleeding disorder. While there's not in our county, there may be a way to go ahead and do that in other systems. Still, it wouldn't help her if she were in another location with another 911 system.
Also, if you use Medic Alert, they have a Mother's Day special going on … 30% off a MedicAlert ID in time for Mother's Day. The code is Mom19, and the offer ends May 13th.
What are some pros and cons of an info-sharing service like this? Have you heard of other programs that are similar to this? What would be other alternatives to this?