Here’s a nightmare scenario: You’re in a bad car accident and are rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Emergency room doctors do everything they can to save you, but by the time they read the EMTs’ notes about your injuries and check your medical records for drug allergies, it’s too late.
What if doctors could know your injuries and medical history before you arrive at the ER?
A Cambridge startup called Twiage is developing a mobile app that delivers vital information about a patient from the ambulance to the emergency room, while on route to the hospital, so that doctors can move more quickly when the patient arrives. The idea, of course, is that saving precious seconds could save lives.
Running the Twiage app on a smartphone, an EMT can dictate notes and send them to the hospital as text, and also share photographs of a patient’s injuries, identification and EKG readings. It’s like Twitter for triage. Get it? Twiage.
The company is less than a month old, born out of a recent hackathon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Fittingly, Twiage is the brainchild of an MIT grad named Crystal Law, who also happens to be an EMT.
In addition to the smartphone app, there’s a version of Twiage for Google Glass, which might lead you to guess (correctly) that John Rodley is involved. Rodley has been working for months on an app called ArrtGlass that uses the wearable computer’s first-person camera to let a doctor who can’t be in a hospital room see a patient through the eyes of someone at the bedside.
When I caught up with Rodley recently at Workbar in Cambridge, he acknowledged that ArrtGlass faces an uphill battle because Google Glass appears a long way from mass adoption. But smartphones are ubiquitous, and when he heard Law describe the communication gap between ambulance and hospital during a pitch session at the hackathon, he recognized a natural fit for his work. The Twiage team also includes YiDing Yu, a resident physician at Brigham and Women’s.
At the hackathon, Twiage won the Ariadne Labs Prize, which comes with a chance to pitch for a $100,000 grant in the coming months. Ariadne Labs, a center for health systems innovation, opened last year as a joint venture of Brigham and Women’s and the Harvard School of Public Health.