Monday, February 21, 2011

Smart Phone App May Save Lives

A new smart phone application that connects first responders to doctors at the West Penn Allegheny Health System and also links to life flight helicopters and Google Maps is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Jeffrey Polana, Director of Pre-Hospital Operations at Alle-Kiski Medical Center, worked on the app with a German friend. There is a triage system to help emergency personnel determine what the patient is experiencing and, for example, get an EKG to a doctor in 15 seconds. The closest hospital to treat the specific problem is identified and driving directions given.

There is a pre-alert function that sends coordinates from an accident scene to a helicopter dispatch center, according to Polana, that can save up to ten minutes in getting a patient to the hospital. Saving time can save lives, says Polana.

Anyone can download the app free through the Apple Store and use some of the functions, but approval is needed to contact West Penn Allegheny Health System doctors or a dispatch center. There have already been 500 downloads and 140 approvals in the Pittsburgh area, says Polana.

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