Invisible Bracelets Could Save Lives

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Monday, December 20, 2010 - 8:17am

Key chain tag gives first responders your medical history.

Utah's Gold Cross Ambulance service has joined up with other emergency responders around the country offering a "virtual" medical ID card.

It's called the "invisible bracelet," and it looks similar to the plastic grocery store reward cards that attach to key rings.

The tag has an ID number that's assigned to you when you sign up for the service.

Paramedics nationwide are now being trained to look for these whenever they respond to an emergency situation.

"If someone is unconscious, we don't have a lot of ways to get information other than to look through their house. With some people we just might have to look in their wallet, things like that, so it's really difficult to find that information. But with this, we can access it right away," says paramedic Brooke Macias.

Gold Cross, Utah's largest private ambulance service, has joined with other services across the country in integrating the invisible bracelet into its system.

You sign up on a secure online site, and then fill out as much information as you'd like: contact information, medical history, doctor's names, etc.

"We can input this ID number and it pulls up all of the information that they've registered: their health information, allergies, medical history, whatever they choose to make available to us," Macias said.

For medical staff in the field, this can save them valuable time.

They can also print the patient information on portable printers in the ambulances and hand it off to doctors and nurses when they arrive at the ER.

Perhaps the biggest benefit with the invisible bracelet system is that it will also alert family members, which you listed on the website during the sign-up process.

When the ambulance crew determines the hospital, a click of the mouse sends a text message or e-mail to your emergency contact list within seconds.

Up to 10 contacts can be notified.

"It's about speed and it's about information," Macias said. "But also it's about letting your loved ones know that you've been transported to the hospital."

The invisible bracelet just came online in the past month. It's a standardized system nationwide, so if you need emergency services in another state the ambulance services can access it.

There is a $10 annual fee.
 

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