Jennifer Learn-Andes reports:
Imagine that police, firefighters and emergency workers are racing toward you in response to a 911 call from your landline phone or cell.
You may be slipping out of consciousness or unable to speak altogether. Even if you can communicate, you may be too frantic or shocked to think straight.
What would you want them to know?
Allergies? Pets and children in the house? Medical conditions? Blood types?
Luzerne County 911 is planning to implement new software technology that will give people who live and work in the county the option to enter a long list of personal and household data into a secure website tied to their phone numbers, including cell phones.
The information would then appear on a 911 dispatcher’s screen if a call comes in from that phone number.
The data is kept by the software supplier and only released to 911 if a subscriber calls with an emergency.
Read more in The Times Leader.
Like all ideas that may have potential benefit, the security of the system will be crucial – as will be access control and audits to ensure that employees aren’t snooping in the database.
And will the system impose new HIPAA/privacy obligations on first responders who may receive such information from 911 dispatchers, such as volunteer firefighters? Providing first responders with critical and sensitive information should entail additional training for all responders on their obligations to keep what they learn confidential and protected.