Close your eyes and picture it -- you've just pulled up to an accident, the patient is unconscious, and there's no way you could possibly know about the prescription drugs in their system. And, unknowingly, the injection you're about to give them could be a lethal one.
It happens far too often, information that is vital to EMS personnel on scene -- the patient's name, emergency contacts, current health conditions, medications, medical history, blood type and allergies -- isn't available when needed. But for many, this would require dragging around a small filing cabinet. At least that's how it used to be.
Now, all the public needs is an "iD." Identification Devices LLC has introduced a small, portable electronic identification device that will hold this critical patient information for EMS personnel in the event that it's needed. In addition, the device can also contain a recent photo of the person, and other medical documents such as Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders.
iD can be attached to a child's backpack, an adult's key ring, a senior citizen's article of clothing or tied into a toddler's shoelaces. For sports enthusiasts, the devices can be stored in a cyclist's frame bag, included in a hiker's survival kit, or carried in a skier's jacket. iD is small enough to be stored practically anywhere.
But of course the devices won't be utilized unless EMTs and paramedics know what they are and how to use them. That's why Identification Devices LLC owner Chris Owens has included not only the iD logo, but the universal medical symbol on each device. Owens has also been conducting demonstrations to local authorities for the past few months, in hopes of spreading the word of iD's existence, and how they're to be recognized and used by emergency response personnel via the standard issue laptop computer found in most ambulances.
iD has been well received by local emergency response crews. "Anything that can help us to properly treat a patient at the scene of an accident is a good thing" states Rick Howard, with the Sandy (Utah) Fire Department. "Time is critical at that point."
For the past few years, government agencies and insurance companies have urged a conversion of paper medical records into electronic form. That makes them easier for insurance firms and doctors alike to collect and review patients' medical histories. For these reasons and more, Owens sees his devices as being well received by the medical community, as it will save them countless hours searching for information that could be readily available.