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Medical ID bracelet uses texting to relay emergency info [Updated]

November 1, 2011 |  2:07 pm

Textbracelet
A new medical identification bracelet that came on the market Tuesday uses text messaging to convey detailed medical information to first responders. The TextID bracelets from the medical jewelry company Hope Paige are engraved with an identification number that, when sent via text, can access an individual’s emergency information, including an extensive medical history, current medications and emergency contacts, among other things.

“People who wear medical ID bracelets don’t think they have enough room on them to put as much information as they need,” said Hope Paige President Shelly Fisher. She said about 3 million Americans wear medical IDs.

There are several types of medical IDs currently on the market, the most common of which contain a simple inscription or logo to indicate the wearer’s medical condition. Other types embed flash drives, or are engraved with toll-free numbers, to allow first responders access more extensive personal medical information. But the Text ID jewelry is the first to employ short message service, or text, technology. The bracelets cost $15 to $50, depending upon the design, and are available at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Ralphs, Albertsons and Kroger, among other retailers. [Updated Nov. 1, 2011, 4:25 pm.: The original version of this post said the jewelry was available at the listed retailers. Only the brochures are available at the retailers. The jewelry must be ordered through the brochure, online or by phone.]

With the TextID bracelets, information can be accessed within seconds of an emergency responder sending a text to the five-digit number on the ID. That information is texted back in two parts – a first message that reveals the patient’s name, gender, age, condition and contact phone number, and a second message with a URL providing an entire medical profile. In a personal test of the system, both texts were received within 10 seconds. [Updated Nov. 1, 2011, 4:25 p.m.: The original version of this post said the personal identification number was seven digits.]

Hope Paige has partnered with a company called ICEdot, which works with the American Ambulance Assn. -- an organization that trains more than 75% of the country’s emergency medical technicians and first responders, according to Fisher.

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-- Susan Carpenter

Photo credit: Hope Paige

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