Washington Emergency health alerts for the Facebook generation? The nation’s ambulance crews are pushing a virtual medical ID system to rapidly learn a patient’s health history during a crisis — and which can immediately text-message loved ones that the person is headed for a hospital.
The Web-based registry, invisibleBracelet.org, started in Oklahoma and got a boost this fall when the state’s government made the program an optional health benefit for its own employees.
Now the iBracelet attempts to go nationwide as the American Ambulance Association next month begins training its medics, who in turn will urge people in their communities to sign up.
For $5 a year, basic health information and up to 10 emergency contacts are stored under a computer-assigned PIN number that’s kept on a wallet card with your driver’s license, a key fob or a sticker on an insurance card.
It’s a complement to the medical alert jewelry that people with diabetes, asthma and a host of other conditions have used for decades to signal their needs in an emergency.
And it comes as the American College of Emergency Physicians is trying to determine just what information is the most critical for medics and ER doctors to find when you’re too ill to answer questions, so that competing emergency-alert technologies don’t miss any of the essentials.
Not everyone who should wear a medical alert bracelet does, costing EMS workers precious minutes determining, for example, if someone’s incoherent because he’s having a stroke or because he’s a diabetic with dangerously low blood sugar.