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In Case of Emergency, This App Could Save Your Life

September 4, 2014
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In Case of Emergency, This App Could Save Your Life
A new smartphone app lets users create a medical record that is stored in a QR code. Gerardo Mora/Getty Images
ICEBlueButton gives EMS personnel instant access to your medical history.

Forget filling out medical questionnaires and memorizing emergency contact information. A new app is enabling individuals to store all that information in one place to carry around in case of an emergency.

ICEBlueButton, developed by healthcare tech company Humetrix late last year, lets users create a medical record that is then stored in a QR code that can be saved onto a smartphone or printed onto a sticker and stuck to things like children’s bike helmets. According to Government Technology, emergency responders can then scan the code for instant access to information on a person in case of an emergency.

“No one is immune to having an emergency,” says Dr. Bettina Experton, president and CEO of Humetrix. “Kids playing sports or away from home at camp can have an accident and emergency personnel need to know if they have any medical conditions or life-threatening allergies.”

The record is referred to as an ICE — i.e. In Case of Emergency — and once it is accessed, the app can also send an email alert to the individual’s designated contact through the auto-alert feature.

While the app is not meant to store a complete medical history, it can notify paramedics of allergies or medications a person may be taking.

“Checking for a smartphone has really become part of the routine for the public health professional,” Experton says. “Years ago they would look for a wallet for ID when responding to an emergency. Now they know to look for a smartphone.”

If a patient is using an app like ICEBlueButton, instant access to their health records can enable medical professionals to provide better care. Experton adds that medical professionals have already begun advising people to download ICEBlueButton.

Experton also hopes that the app can expand to disaster preparedness for national agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, ICEBlueButton was featured at the White House’s Disaster Response and Recovery Demo Day as one of the many digital tools that can help in case of emergency response.

ICEBlueButton costs $3 per month or $20 annually for the added auto-alert feature.

MORE: Send a Text, Save a Life

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