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Arming Emergency Teams With Data From The Connected Car
Twenty years ago today (March 14th, 2002), a tractor-trailer was headed northbound towards Chattanooga on I-75 in north near the Georgia-Tennessee state line. As it drove into a wall of fog, it unexpectedly slammed into the back of an imperceptible, slower tractor-trailer, and caused a chain-reaction accident that involved a combined 125 vehicles on both the north and southbound lanes. The fog was so thick that CNN reported the “… visibility in the area was 10 to 15 feet at the time of the accident … and that the fog lifted about an hour later [finally] giving emergency crews their first look at the extent of the damage.” To make matters worse, the highway patrol was on a “skeleton crew” since multiple officers were attending a training exercise in the middle of Georgia. Thirty-nine (39) people were injured and, either because of the crash’s impact or the delays in understanding critical injuries, five people died.
Starting in the second half of 2022, a new service called HALCYON Post-Crash Intelligence (from Beyond Lucid Technologies) shall be provided initially through app stores Amazon Alexa Auto, Android Auto, and Apple’s App Store for CarPlay. Thereafter, subscribers can reach out via the existing voice interfaces to a software system that matches the request for help to a stored profile. That account would contain secure, HIPAA-compliant database housing a critical-health-data profile of the vehicle’s likely occupants—driver and passengers alike. The software will then provide this known medical, and essential, information from the profile to the emergency personnel who are responding to the scene, based on a range of parameters from the location of the incident to whether the region uses a central dispatching service. When the Responders arrive on-scene, they will be able to validate who is actually present, then access the sorts of critical health background data that—if known—might change what they do to care for those who were impacted by the crash.
“There has been a lot of research between [elapsed] time and trauma and how informed or uniformed you are when you arrive on scene can actually make a real, material difference to the outcome,” states Jonathon Feit, Co-founder and CEO of Beyond Lucid Technologies. “Imagine what emergency providers could do if they could ‘scramble the jets’ ahead of time by using the vehicle’s information as a resource. Who is likely in the vehicle? Do you have a specific medical allergy? Do you have hemophilia, so that internal bruising is even more likely to kill you? Do you have a history of stroke or cardiac conditions? Were any children involved? And if so, do they have special health needs like autism or epilepsy? All of this can help to prepare the first responder with information on required equipment and expected actions.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has arrived at the same conclusion. In the midst of discussing the 2.3 million people sent to a hospital’s emergency department every year and the 96 people killed every day on U.S. highways, they state the major obstacle to improving the outcomes is “… linking motor vehicle crash data from various sources [such that the data linkage can] share critical information about what happened before, during and after a crash providing a complete picture that informs prevention efforts.” After all, there is compelling research showing an inverse relationship between time and trauma: the faster the appropriate response arrives, the more likely a vehicle’s occupants are to survive—and the faster they can be expected to recover from their injuries.
Moreover, in October 2021, Reuters reported that “U.S. traffic deaths soared by 18.4% in the first six months of 2021 from the same period a year earlier, for the most deadly first half on American roads since 2006... more drivers engaged in unsafe behavior like speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regulators said. That made for the largest six-month increase ever recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System's history, which has been in use since 1975.“
Interestingly, upwards of a decade ago, other companies looked at this as an extension of Automatic Crash Notification (ACN), but aborted given the arduous process of ingesting and standardizing to a common language for ambulances, paramedics and hospitals. “The barrier to data sharing was not on the vehicle-side [but rather] on the EMS side,” states Feit. But through a three-year, private-to-public effort, that dataset has now been established, paving the way for the imminent service.
Future extensions of the service will include utilizing data from ridesharing companies (e.g., “Does this vehicle presently have a paid passenger and, if so, are we allowed to share his/her information with first responders?”) and, of course, either in-vehicle or automatic interfaces to initiate the call for help.
Possibly the most fascinating aspect of the genesis story of this new capability is the motivation for climbing this standardization hill. “We have personal tie to this,” explains Feit. “In December 2006, my business partner’s father and sister were killed in a rural car crash in New Mexico. The rural EMS agency arrived on-scene in the middle-of-nowhere-New-Mexico to find there had been a crash between a car and a tractor-trailer and multiple, critically-injured people. In reality, they needed a second unit — an air ambulance— but none of that was discovered until the first unit arrived on scene.”
This article was originally published by Steve Tengler (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Forbes.com on March 14, 2022
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