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How Your Cell Phone Could Save Your Life

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 12:10pm

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Imagine this terrifying-but-all-too-common situation:  you’re knocked unconscious in an accident. When the EMTs arrive, they can’t find your IDs (maybe you left your wallet at home that day). They have no idea who you are, who to contact, or whether you have any medical conditions.

Here’s one potential happy ending:  the EMT glances at your smart phone. Since you’ve downloaded LifeBridge Health‘s new In Case of Emergency (ICE) app, she can get vital information — such as your name, emergency contact info, and any important allergies or medical conditions — from the home screen of your phone, without worrying about bypassing your password protection. As you speed to the hospital, the EMTs note that you’re allergic to penicillin. They call your wife to apprise her of the situation. Things are still scary, but a lot less mysterious.

LifeBridge, one of the largest health providers in the Baltimore area, came  up with the idea for the ICE app after hearing too many tales like the one above. For a while, it seemed as though smart phones were the perfect solution — all that crucial information in your pocket! — but password protections and confusing interfaces made it tricky to access the right information at the right time. So LifeBridge called on one of their web developers, asking if it was possible to make an app that displayed crucial medical and personal data on a phone’s home screen. A few weeks later, the ICE app was born.  (The app also comes stocked with a list of LifeBridge’s community doctors for those who want to think about medical care in non-emergency situations.)

“As a major provider of health services to the community, this is what we do — look out for the health of people in this area,” says Jill Bloom, LifeBridge’s director of marketing. And, as far as apps go, this is just the beginning. LifeBridge is also working on a similar smart phone-based app called It’s Time, but this one is targeted to pregnant women who have planned to deliver their babies at Sinai Hospital. Once a woman starts going into labor, the app will take care of all sorts of complicated logistics:  it’ll alert the hospital to her immanent arrival, inform designated contacts that the labor has begun, provide clear directions to Sinai, give crucial parking info, and suggest some breathing exercises to make the whole situation less stressful.

While It’s Time is still being developed, the ICE app is available — for free! — on both the iPhone and Android platforms. Download it here, and have some easy peace of mind.

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