Imagine EMS crews find you unconscious at a local store but have no idea
about your medical history. Do you have any drug allergies? What medications
are you taking? If medical transport to a hospital is needed, how will
your loved ones be notified in a timely manner?
Medics from Humboldt General Hospital's Emergency Medical Services
usually have to rummage through purses and wallets for patient identity
or rely on the patient themselves, but now local residents are being encouraged
to register with a web-based program that will give EMS crews the ability
not only to access a patient's medical information but also to contact
anyone that person wants to be notified in case of emergency.
The ICEdot, or "In Case of Emergency," program allows people
to register their medical information and emergency contacts on a secure
web site accessible to HGH EMS personnel while on scene, at the patient's
side. In essence, the program acts as a virtual medical identification bracelet.
The American Ambulance Association (AAA), the voice for ambulance services
nationwide, has created the web-based national emergency health registry
through a partnership with Docvia.
Jim Finger, president of the AAA, said ICEdot (ICE.), will revolutionize
patient services and become the new standard of practice for the ambulance
"For millions of Americans, ICEdot will, and should, become an essential,"
he said. "This voluntary method of information sharing between EMS
providers and patients could be just the thing that saves more lives and
relieves anxiety for family members."
Humboldt General Hospital EMS Director Pat Songer said his agency is one
of the first AAA-affiliated EMS providers to support the national rollout
of the ICEdot web service.
"Having the right information is so critical in our being able to
provide good patient care," said Songer. "We are on the frontline
and we don't usually have a lot of time to dig through people's
belongings to find out about their medications or allergies."
Songer continued, "This web service will save precious minutes, which
will translate into saving lives."
Songer shared the example of a diabetic patient. "In just a few seconds,
we could know that person has diabetes, we could know not only about the
diabetes history, but also how much insulin the patient takes, the hospital
they prefer, or any other information the patient chooses to put into
the ICEdot program."
Songer continued, "And once the patient is stabilized, our crews
can access the patient's profile and send a notice to all the patient's
emergency contacts by voice message, e-mail or even text message that
the patient is being transported and the hospital destination."
Songer added, "It just makes so much sense in terms of patient care.
Humboldt General Hospital is promoting the program in an effort to register
as many area residents as possible. The service is free. A premium membership
costs $10 per member, per year.
The program was originally launched under the name "Invisible Bracelet."
Those who enrolled in that program are now part of the ICEdot network.
To learn more or to enroll in the ICEdot ("In Case of Emergency")
program, please visit
www.ICEdot.org or call (775) 623-5222, ext. 263 for more information.