Humetrix Unveils New Emergency BlueButton App

1-5-2014 9-10-31 PM

Humetrix announces an update to the company’s BlueButton app that allows Humetrix to significantly expand the apps target audience. The new app does not rely on payer or health system data, which it currently only receives from the VA, CMS, and a handful of HIEs. Because of this, Humetrix will be able to market the app as a means of facilitating health data exchange for anyone interested in doing so. The announcement comes just prior to the CES 2014 kickoff, where Humetrix has said it will be demonstrating the new app.

The app itself is called In Case of Emergency BlueButton, or ICEBlueButton for short. It was designed to provide consumers with a way of reporting home meds, allergies, past medical history, and emergency contact information to the BlueButton network regardless of their personal insurance. The app then facilitates data exchange in some innovative new ways.

As the name implies, developers were focusing on getting critical information to key clinicians in emergency situations. Therefore, in addition to the patient themselves, the app was designed primarily with EMS and ER care providers in mind.

ICEBlueButton will store each patients self-reported health information, and then create a QR code access key that can printed and kept in a wallet, or on a magnet, or a keychain. By scanning the QR code, and entering an accompanying four-digit pin, medical personnel caring for the patient will have access to all of the self-reported information that the patient documented, as well as any information that might be available about the patient from the BlueButton network.

In addition to providing key information to medical personnel, the app will also automatically alert the patient’s emergency contact, via email or SMS, that there’s been an emergency. The alert will identify the name of the person experiencing a medical emergency, and include a map with their current location.

In theory, the app sounds like a good idea. ICEBlueButton could help patients that have long medication lists and medical histories by providing a way of storing an accurate copy of this information that does not require they remember every frequency and dose for every prescription they take.

In a real emergency situation, however, there may be problems when it comes to the logistics of how ICEBlueButton would be used. Unless the patient tells an EMT to go scan the QR code magnet on their refrigerator, it’s unlikely that most EMTs are going to know to do it.  For ICEBlueButton to work, EMT and ED staff would need to be trained on what it was, and be aware enough to remember to to look for the QR access cards in the patient’s wallets or homes.

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