Help I'm Hurt: the iPhone app that can help you find emergency care

Help I'm Hurt: the iPhone app that can help you find emergency care

Summary: What if you're out and about, and need to find emergency care? Well, there's an app for that.

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A recent article in the New York Times discussed an alarming trend in emergency medical care. It seems the need for emergency room care is rising, just as more and more emergency rooms are closing.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Urban and suburban areas have lost a quarter of their hospital emergency departments over the last 20 years.

There seem to be a complex interplay of reasons, mostly related to socio-economic factors. My over-simplified take on it is basically that hospital ERs, which are required by law to serve people needing care, can't afford to keep their doors open and serve populations in need.

Without getting overly intense and working up a full head of steam here on why this really makes me mad, I'll remain calm and focus on my trusty iPhone (or as I like to call it, my pacifier).

There's an app for that I decided to see if there was an iPhone app available on Apple's app store to help you find out about available emergency care in your area. It turns out that, of course, there's an app for that.

The app is called "Help I'm Hurt", and it lets you enter your zip code and view a list of emergency care locations near you, along with reviews and information about the possible locations.

I searched in my zip code, found some locations I was already aware of, some I was happy to be made aware of, and some that seemed less than useful. The app let me easily place a call to one of the locations to ascertain the hours and cost of care.

In case of an emergency, please dial 911 In case of a true emergency (such as sudden chest pain, suspected stroke, etc.), please dial 911. Don't try to get in the car and drive yourself. If what's going on with you isn't serious enough to warrant a ride to the hospital, the EMTs will certainly let you know. But if it is serious, you'll start receiving care immediately, and you'll be on the fast track for care once you arrive at the hospital.

If it isn't a true emergency, but you are sick or hurt, and you don't currently have a general practitioner, family doctor, health care provider, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or whatever other name or form that might take these days (or if you don't have health insurance), it might be a good idea to try an ambulatory care clinic.

Heck, they can be helpful even if your regular doctor is on vacation or doesn't have an appointment time open for you. There are some limits on the care they can provide, but you can call ahead, let them know what's up with you, and ask if they think it's within the scope of their practice to help.

Lots of people panic and go to the ER when they need medical attention, but aren't having a true medical emergency, which can kinda bring on a "heart attack" later when the bill arrives in the mail. It can also clog up an already-overburdened ER (which brings us full circle to the aforementioned ER problem).

Urgent care clinics are one way to be seen and treated in a timely fashion. Often the fees are comparatively reasonable, and can be put on a credit card. They are usually busiest at their opening and closing times.

Familiarize yourself with your local ambulatory (walk-in) urgent care providers, their hours, and their prices ahead of time. That way, you can incorporate the information into your emergency care plan.

What health and emergency care applications do you have on your iPhone or iPad? TalkBack below.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Health, iPhone, Legal, Mobility

About

Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse, the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.


Nothing in this article is meant to be a substitute for medical advice, and shouldn't be considered as such. If you are in need of medical help, please see your doctor.

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Talkback

7 comments
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  • Blood Glucose Meter

    I don't personally have any, but there's a student on campus that has a blood glucose meter that plugs into the bottom of his iPhone. Takes glucose readings and shows him all sorts of interesting info about the reading.

    I don't know much else about the particulars, though. Probably sends the data straight to his dietitian and doctor. I'm sure it does a whole host of other cool things.
    WarhavenSC
    • iPhone Blood Glucose Meter

      @WarhavenSC Thanks for sharing that info. That is way cool. If you happen to find out anything else from your friend, post a TalkBack or email and let me know so I can try to get one and do a review.
      Denise Amrich, RN
  • RE: Help I'm Hurt: the iPhone app that can help you find emergency care

    Yeah, my bum ticker just stopped working...let me fire up my app....oh really?
    james347
  • RE: Help I'm Hurt: the iPhone app that can help you find emergency care

    Massachusetts General Hospital has a similar app called EMNet findER that is designed to get users to the closest ER in the shortest amount of time. The app is quick, simple to use, and (because it's based on an academic database) doesn't have some of the accuracy problems you discussed in your article. The best part is it's free and available for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Full disclosure, I work at the hospital, which is how I know about the app.
    Boston Traveler
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