By Bettina Experton MD, MPH, Humetrix President & CEO
With so many ads and preparation going on for Mother’s Day, lately, I’ve been thinking about my own mother’s health, and the things we here at Humetrix hear from caregivers all over the world who are concerned about their parents.
It’s especially fresh for me, given a recent experience my Mom had while visiting me in the U.S. My Mom is a native French speaker, and while visiting me, had some issues with a wound on her leg. She went to the local CVS Minute Clinic to have it checked out, as I was traveling on business.
Without my help in describing her symptoms and medical history in English, that visit could have been very difficult, and might not have lead to the most appropriate care given her personal medical history. But armed with Humetrix’s Blue Button-driven apps, my Mom was able to share her health history and current medication list (which included the blood thinner that were causing the bruising on her leg). This helped guide the clinic nurse practitioner to the right diagnosis and treatment, even though my Mom didn’t have all of the English words she would have needed to share this information.
Because of my experience in the hospital setting, I’m all too aware of the dangers of medical errors – such as adverse drug interactions – that cause more than 700,000 deaths and injuries each year. And for older Americans – the average Medicare recipient takes four different prescribed drugs daily, with some taking more than 10 – this problem is very real.
To use a well-worn phrase – “there’s an app for that!” Blue Button makes it possible for every Medicare recipient to access their health record – and with iBlueButton, they can carry their full history, along with medications and conditions, everywhere they go, on their mobile device.
And in an emergency situation, when our parents are not able to speak for themselves, an app like Humetrix’s ICEBlueButton can communicate for our moms and dads, saving critical time and providing important, potentially lifesaving information to EMTs or ED doctors. And when my Mom went to seek care for her leg holding her cell phone with the ICEBlueButton QR code, which the clinic nurse scanned, I was immediately alerted on my cell phone, showing the GPS location of exactly where she was; I knew she was at the CVS pharmacy close to my home, and was able to call her right away.
We can’t be with our parents all of the time. But with advances in technology, we can give them the tools that help them to take better control of their healthcare when we can’t be there, and alert us right away. This Mother’s Day, as I spend time with my own Mom, and think about how thankful I am for all that she does, I’ll also be thinking about all the ways we can arm our parents with lifesaving technologies to keep them safe, even when we cannot be there with them.
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