Facebook PixelAn app that notifies the active neighbors when the user has a medical problem
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An app that notifies the active neighbors when the user has a medical problem

Image credit: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Mar 03, 2021
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There are apps that notify you when your blood pressure rises, or when you have an arrhythmia. There also exist apps that notify medical services (like 911). I want to add a feature to these apps that notify your immediate neighbors, wherever you are, that you are having a medical emergency and need help. These apps usually require additional apparatus (mostly a smartwatch). The detection of the medical problem is another issue and is not a part of the current idea.

Imagine a person is traveling in the metro and they become unconscious. People around may think that the person is sleeping. The app, after sensing the blood pressure will detect a severe drop. The app will immediately trace the location of the person and also those that are the closest. The then neighbors will get a call saying that a person near them is unwell and needs medical treatment. The fellow travelers can then notify the authorities at the next station and further steps can be taken.

Notifying the emergency services is the best idea when the patient is not traveling and at a location that is easily traceable. Notifying the authorities might be secondary in some cases. For example, when traveling, the neighbors can be of better help. They can reach the person quicker. The app can also tell them what are the immediate steps they should take. For example, if the person is sitting or standing, the app should instruct them to lie the patient down in supine position. Since the app knows the medical background of the patient, it can instruct the neighbor to take specific steps till the authorities arrive. For example, if the person is known to have extreme allergic reactions and they carry epinephrine shots with them, the neighbor may be able to administer the injection and avoid anaphylaxis or spray Albuterol in the mouth of an asthma patient having an attack.

The app can also complete the preliminary diagnosis and report that to the first medical professionals that arrive at the scene. For example, it can tell them the reason for losing consciousness or the allergy, if known from the medical history. It can tell them the medication the patient is regularly on, and thereby, help them avoid any contraindicative drugs.

The neighbors need to be registered on the app so that their contact details can be used.

Is such an app already in use? If yes, how does it work? What other features can we add to improve it? What are the drawbacks of such an app?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni8 months ago
After reading Spook Louw 's comment, I could think of another problem with the idea. Since the diagnosis of an emergency will be done by a smartwatch or a similar device, the patient will need to wear it. For the idea to work, most people in the vicinity should have the app installed. And all of them will need to have a smartwatch connected to the app. This will increase the cost of the set-up and have a limit on the sale of the watches. Since the app is pretty useless without the smartwatch, those that do not want to buy a smartwatch will not download the app, limiting the number of users and ultimately, decreasing the functionality of the idea as a whole. There will, basically, not be sufficient users to send an emergency alert to. Is there any way we can overcome this?
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw8 months ago
Garmin is now doing this with their watches. https://www.garmin.com/en-US/blog/featured-2/safety-and-tracking-features/

There's still room for improvement, but at the moment they have a feature that can detect if something might have happened to you, by monitoring the vitals that it's measuring. If something drastically changes the watch then sends a message from your connected smartphone to 2 assigned contacts, letting them know your last location and a summary of your vitals.

This feature will keep improving as the technology improves and will definitely save many lives.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni8 months ago
Spook Louw Yes, it is pretty close to the idea. If more and more people start using it, along with the two assigned contacts, the alert could also be sent to the users (not known to the patient) closest to them at that moment.
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