Delaware State News

October 14th 2006

ICE device could be life saver

By Jenny Maher, Delaware State News
DOVER — When someone is in an emergency health situation, swift
and appropriate medical attention can mean the difference between
life and death.

But if a doctor or emergency responder doesn’t know a patient’s
medical history, such as health conditions and drug allergies,
there is an increased risk of medical mistakes.

Rolf and Carol-Ann Harding, of Dover, believe they have the
device needed to combat such errors — the ICE (In Case of
Emergency) Drive.

The newly developed product is a handheld USB drive that houses a
patient’s medical information.
By plugging it into a computer, medical professionals can access
a document containing the patient’s detailed health information
and emergency contacts.

“It’s ideal for anybody,” Mrs. Harding said. “If for any reason
anything happens and you’re taken to the emergency room, you
don’t have to worry about miscommunication.”

The ICE Drive, which sells for $50, includes a blank document
with medical and personal information forms that consumers can
fill out on their computer.

The document is saved in plain text format so it can be read on
Macs and PCs.

However, the forms can be filled out only on computers that run
Microsoft Windows.

“It’s very easy to use,” Mrs. Harding said.

“All you do is click and it prompts you on what information to
put in there.”

However, she realizes that many seniors — the age group perhaps
most in need of the ICE Drive — might be hesitant to use the
product because it requires some computer knowledge.

The Hardings said they are considering starting a service where
they fill out the form for consumers, for a yet to be determined
fee.

In addition to filling out medical and personal information,
patients can upload their photo onto the drive.

This would help emergency responders identify a patient, Mr.
Harding said.

And if patients can get their medical test results placed on a
disk, they can upload those onto the drive.

The drive also allows patients to monitor their health, by giving
them a place to record their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol
and other information obtained at medical appointments.
And, when allowed, patients can present their ICE Drive documents
to medical office workers instead of filling out various patient
forms before appointments.

The device is small, lightweight and can be worn around a
patient’s neck or on a keychain, and has room for more
information than a medic alert bracelet.

The ICE logo and the words “medical records” are printed on the
front, making it easily identifiable to emergency responders.

The Hardings said their product fits in with the goals of the
Information Technology for Health Care Quality Act and the Wired
for Health Care Quality Act, federal bills aimed at lowering
health care costs, cutting down on medical mistakes and
transitioning toward paperless offices.

They said they believe strongly in their product and its ability
to improve the health care system and prevent fatal errors.

“We will feel successful if we save one life,” Mr. Harding said.

Because the Hardings specialize in computer services and have no
medical background, they consulted a doctor to ensure the quality
and efficacy of their product.

Mr. Harding’s former family physician, Dr. Norman Knee, who is
now a consultant with several insurance companies, expressed
great confidence in the ICE Drive.

Because there are so many patients who have complex medical
histories, take long lists of medicines and have drug allergies,
he said it can be hard for them to remember all pertinent
information when they go to the doctor’s, especially if they’re
older and suffer from memory problems.

He considers the ICE Drive an effective solution.

“I think it’s fantastic, seriously,” he said. “In today’s world,
when more offices are going toward electronic records, this will
be a boon.”

After the Hardings started developing the ICE Drive, Dr. Knee
said Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia came up
with a similar tool — a CD that houses medical information.
However, he described the Hardings’ product as “infinitely
better.”

“It’s small and can be carried on a keychain, it plugs into
computers, can be instantly upgraded and will hold more
information,” he said.

The Hardings plan to visit local hospitals to show workers how to
use their product, so there’s no confusion if a patient comes in
with an ICE Drive.

But they said it’s so easy to use they don’t foresee any
problems.

Patients can learn more about the ICE Drive or order it by
visiting www.icedrive.info or calling 382-1502.

Copyright 2006 Delaware State News
 

dsn03

Rolf and Carol-Ann Harding, of Dover, display the ICE Drive, a small, handheld device that can be worn around the neck or carried on a keychain. It can be plugged into a computer to display the wearer’s medical information.

 Delaware State News/Jenny Maher
 

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