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Home > EMS Products > Data Management

New medical ID bracelets 'confuse' medics

Interactive band contains critical information, link, phone number so responders can easily access complete medical synopsis

By Roy Lang III
Gannett News Service

SHREVEPORT, La. — Many athletes have invested in what some believed was a security blanket — a RoadID bracelet. There's just one problem, first responders are unfamiliar with it.

Similar to a medical bracelet, the interactive band contains critical information and a link and phone number so first responders can easily access a complete medical synopsis in case of emergency.

Full story: New medical ID bracelets 'confuse' medics

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Helen Brenner Helen Brenner Tuesday, July 31, 2012 6:57:30 PM I can't see, in the middle of the oh-sh*t call, that EMTs should be pulling out cell phones to find out what might be issues with an unresponsive patient. And, how's it going to work in dead zones? The point of the bracelet, necklace, etc., is to be able to quickly see what could be of concern. My daughter has a bleeding disorder. Her bracelet says what's wrong and what the emergency treatment is - Amikar and fresh frozen plasma. And it has her name and my phone number on it.
Scott Best Scott Best Tuesday, July 31, 2012 10:58:48 PM ER for 16 years...never heard of RoadID either.
Susie Saska Susie Saska Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:01:22 AM I've seen these on athletes at Ironman but never knew what they were, nor did I ever think to ask. I assumed they were med ID bracelets, but since they don't say right on them what the patients conditions are they're kind of useless to us in EMS. I agree that it is highly doubtful that we as EMTs on scene of an unresponsive athlete are going to pull out a cell phone to call a number to find out medical information.
Gary England Gary England Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:03:41 AM ive seen a sticker on the back glass of the car that tells us to look in the glove box for pt info but ive never seen this before.
Dianna Walker Dianna Walker Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:08:59 AM I have been a paramedic for several years, and while I am aware of medic alert jewelry I have never seen one of these bracelets before and in the middle of an emergency call I can assure you that I am focused on treating my patient, not looking for a phone number to call to find out anything.
Joanne Di Tomasso Joanne Di Tomasso Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:11:31 AM I don`t see how in the heck can you take the time to pull out a cell phone or pad in the middle of a critical call to get the information!
Cindie Willey Brandt Cindie Willey Brandt Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:24:20 AM I have never seen one of these either, but on an emergency call, I will treat my Pt as per my protocol, once at the ER, the staff there can make the phone call. I would much rather see info that is relevant on the actual ID, like a medic alert item. Why didn't they consult with anyone in Fire/EMS when they created this?
Christopher Matthews Christopher Matthews Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:34:07 AM If my pt is A&O, I'm not going to bother with this, because I should have the best source of up-to-the-minute updated info... the patient. It's should only be for altered/unconscious patient's anyway. This is starting to bother me that there are so many companies with this kind of product, and every one works different. Some won't even give the info to the EMS crew, but instead they fax it to the ER the patient is going to. How useless is that for the crew? If I had 20 minutes to kill on a long ride to an ER, I might consider courtesy calling so the hospital has it, but otherwise, I'm too busy taking care of a patient to do someone else's job for them. The biggest problem is that since Medic Alert is no longer the only game in town, there isn't any standardization. Some have barcodes, some have numbers, some have USB flash media with a proprietary format while others go for open standards. One last problem, very few people update the information as it changes.
Tricia Seifert Wesolek Tricia Seifert Wesolek Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:42:32 AM The article seems accusatory or EMS... How are you supposed to know what every new product is? Companies come out with stuff like this all the Time - I saw an ad for one with a USB on I'd b weary of sticking that in my tablet , what if you used paper? Or call a certain # - when your sop states no cell phones on duty... Great concept but hopelessly flawed and reckless on the part of the company to sell a bill of goods, assuming I actually look at the ads in the stacks of EMS/ fire mags we have around. Sorry off soapbox :)
Brian Randall Brian Randall Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:49:56 AM I have one of these that I wear all the time. It only list an emergency contact number and my allergies, I have seen them on calls, I think it is a great idea - it doesn't need to be complex, a little information goes a long way, and why wouldn't you want more information on your patient? So instead of being mad because you didn't know about them, LEARN about them, because if it helps just one time it is worth it!
Brian Ennis Brian Ennis Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:56:18 AM Colvin has gone door-to-door because of her disgust with EMS's lack of awareness of this product?!?! Why the trouble... Why the disgust? We can't be expected to know every new product. Just use MedicAlert. Isn't everyone told to loom for that?
Angela Belcher Angela Belcher Wednesday, August 01, 2012 10:40:13 AM There is a list of criteria to go through when responding to an unconscious patient, and I don't see this as being more important than a physical evaluation. If there's a responder on scene who isn't doing anything (it really happens sometimes!), then it would be good for additional information but I don't see this going mainstream. I'm also concerned with possible HIPPA violations since we'd have patients' information on our personal devices.
Stacy Zedek Stacy Zedek Wednesday, August 01, 2012 11:08:18 AM Well guys I have to agree with you there is a flaw in the system with this product and many others like it. As medics many times during an emergency we don't have the time to use an interactive program like Road ID or many other programs. Yes the hospital has more time to do it. But I also agree with the Road ID concept for cyclist, runners, swimmers, etc.. since I do own a Road ID bracelet. However, I opted not to use the interactive part since I understand how the system EMS system works. The bracelet itself is no different than any other medical alert bracelet, it contains name, emergency contacts, medical history, allergies, medication, DOB, blood type. You choose what you want on the bracelet. So in the event if I ever get hit by some car where the driver isn't paying attention I will have my Road ID and my information can be provided to emergency personnel.
Stacy Zedek Stacy Zedek Wednesday, August 01, 2012 11:09:49 AM
Cindie Willey Brandt Cindie Willey Brandt Wednesday, August 01, 2012 11:25:17 AM thanks Stacy, it's good to know that basic info can be put on it. I'll be prepared if I see it!~
Anthony Mongelli Anthony Mongelli Wednesday, August 01, 2012 12:20:28 PM I have one and also bought one for Lil Anthony it actually started as just a ID bracelet but now you can add more info and get the interactive version. In my case I am more worried about someone being able to identify me (I have no med issues) especially in a foreign county etc if I pass out running/cycling. I have always wondered just how many first responders who are not runners or cyclists actually know about them. They also make a dogtag version to wear around your neck or to put on your shoe laces
Kevin Horahan Sr Kevin Horahan Sr Wednesday, August 01, 2012 4:22:45 PM Excellent point! People need to advertise to the market who buys and the market that services! How do think people find out about this stuff? Osmosis?
Wayne Christopher Lineberry Jr. Wayne Christopher Lineberry Jr. Wednesday, August 01, 2012 5:49:56 PM I have never seen one nor have I ever heard of it. If the one ady was a/o enough to keep yelling at the people treating her about her amazing band then she could have just told them about her medical history.
Greg Friese Greg Friese Thursday, August 02, 2012 2:06:32 PM Helen, the information on the engraving plate can be customized to your needs. For your daughter it would make perfect sense to list her medical condition and appropriate treatment.
Greg Friese Greg Friese Thursday, August 02, 2012 2:12:41 PM Part of the patient assessment process is to look for identification/information bracelets and necklaces. As many other readers have pointed out the information these devices, from low to high tech, might contain is most useful when the patient can't share their own history. Regardless for the habit to develop scan all patients for medical ID. If you see a bracelet or necklace that doesn't look like a simple piece of jewelry ask the patient about it. It could be just jewelry or it could be a medical identification product that is new to you and a learning opportunity. The same habit is useful when a patient tells you a medication you have never heard of. In that situation I expect many of you either ask the patient a) why they take the med or b) look the med up in a drug guide book or app.
Renee Roberts Renee Roberts Thursday, August 02, 2012 2:36:09 PM I'm sorry, but I don't believe that RoadID acted simply as vendors. They have actively sought to educate EMS for the past few years. I have been seeing these out there for some time. All of our crews are educated on RoadID (and other medical jewelry). Now, my company is event medicine based, so perhaps we see them more often, but there are a lot of people wearing these nowadays. Not just athletes, either. My oldest patient that I am aware of to have one on was 84. And she was not in an event. I saw it on her in a local ER while doing my clinical rotations (and I used the opportunity to educate some of the ER staff about it as well). I have even seen on on a dog recently (diabetic dog). We all need to be cognizant of the need to check our patients for identification, including RoadID, MedicAlert, and other medical (or non-medical) jewelry. And medical tattoos, as well.
Gregory Lee Adams Gregory Lee Adams Thursday, August 02, 2012 2:53:22 PM Thre is a training program available to help reduce the confusion about medical IDs and what they actully can do for prehospital care. It is on the website and it is free! Many of those who wear these IDs do it because they have medical conditions or allergies that prevent the use of drugs we would normally use. Gaining access to criticle medical history will provide information to help medics provide care based on facts so they don't have to guess when making treatment decisions. Most areas have a dual dispatch system so that the captain of the engine or BLS unit can access the patient information and leave the medic to provide patient care. Check out the free CE course to learn more https://medicalert.medic-ce/signup.
Michael Meza Michael Meza Thursday, August 02, 2012 2:55:00 PM Mine only has my name and phone numbers so I hope it's not confusing to others in the time of an emergency. My 94 year old Grandpa has little memory left uet him and my Grandmother still live in their own home and get out daily. I recommended road id to my Dad for them because if they wonder off and/or lose or have their ID stolen the braclet can still be used to contact care and loved ones. If my daughters arms weren't so tiny she would have one with id and phone numbers.
Renee Roberts Renee Roberts Thursday, August 02, 2012 3:04:57 PM BTW, yes, I wear a RoadID. It has my name, and my main medical conditions - particularly my bee sting allergy. And if time allows (or the ER can do it), my electronic medical record can be retrieved from RoadID, which has more pertinents.
Nicole Dunne Nicole Dunne Thursday, August 02, 2012 4:55:09 PM I agree, Renee. As EMS providers, we have to update our education system to recognize these items and the latest products out there.
Annalee Good Annalee Good Thursday, August 02, 2012 5:01:18 PM You owe me a new scroll wheel for having to navigate this post.
Russel L McCroskey Russel L McCroskey Friday, August 03, 2012 5:27:21 PM I never heard of this bracelet till I seen this article maybe the company needs to do a little more to make ems and other first responders aware of it and how to utilize it..
Eisen Susan Eisen Susan Sunday, August 05, 2012 1:53:34 PM Times are changing in the world and 90% of people who should be wearing medical ID won't because they don't like the styles and don't want to advertise it to the world. If someone is wearing nothing, they will see nothing, and whatever style someone wears is better than nothing. I have been wearing my stick on Lifetags and an attractive bracelet since they were created. Getting someone to wear some medical ID if they never have before is possibly saving their life and should be commended.
Carl W French Carl W French Tuesday, August 07, 2012 4:25:22 PM I have to say that RoadID has been an extremely generous sponsor of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride. I wear the comprehensive one that has basic info on front (name, year of birth, hometown) along with the phone number and website info directing you to the back of the ID. If you are a field provider, you have all you need to know about me in the prehospital phase because my history would not affect any field treatments. The Hospital can access a fairly comprehensive medical and personal history file and get my complete medical records from my hometown hospital. I wear a bright red wristband type and even have another wrapped around a bar on my bike. I am sure based upon this, the people who run this company will work very hard on improving the education of EMS providers.
Jennifer Lyon Jennifer Lyon Tuesday, August 07, 2012 4:33:55 PM Glad to see you're enjoying the RoadID donation. They are truly a friend of NEMSMBR and Tim Perkins rocks for getting them onboard! I hope we are able to work with them more in the future but hopefully not need to put their product to the test! : )
Carl W French Carl W French Tuesday, August 07, 2012 4:35:01 PM I also got a pair of their shorts to help advertize the product!
Erin Stone Sandler Erin Stone Sandler Tuesday, August 07, 2012 4:56:58 PM I am a Paramedic and I also have a RoadID and love it. I guess, having one, I take for granted that other medics would know what the RoadID was if they were to come across it, however I was proven wrong a few weeks ago. We responded to a bicycle accident and the rider was wearing a RoadID bracelet. Fortunately he was conscious, I immediately commented on his RoadID and told him I had one as well. My partner, had never seen one before, although after seeing it, he thought it was awesome. One thing I can say, is that as an EMT instructor, one thing we teach students is to look for clues (i.e. identifying jewelry, IDs, etc) in the case where the patient is unconscious. So I think the basic info on RoadID would be found during assessment, and utilized, however, further education on the many features of the product would help it to be a more valuable tool to EMS providers.
Erin Stone Sandler Erin Stone Sandler Tuesday, August 07, 2012 5:06:34 PM I have a RoadID also...they are awesome!! :)
Irish Griffith Irish Griffith Tuesday, August 07, 2012 5:56:45 PM I'm glad that one of my local EMTs uses RoadID so I don't have to worry if my local rescue people will know what it is! ;) Seriously though, the only time I actually needed it so far I don't know if the EMT's looked at it. I know the ambulance ride was so short they wouldn't have had time to access the site, so no big deal there. The hospital staff was told what it was, my mother (who had been called by my coworkers when I hit the floor) saw that the nurse wouldn't take it, and had to call my doctor and have them call the ER to make sure they treated me for my condition. So my issue isn't with the EMTs and if they will use it or not (I trust them to decide if they have time to access it) but I hope the hospital staff learns to use the tools they have available when it's offered!
Irish Griffith Irish Griffith Tuesday, August 07, 2012 6:01:57 PM Sorry, should have said the doctor called to make sure they treated me properly for my condition given the meds that I was on but not able to name or give dosage for due to my condition...

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