Military IT developer MedRed launches emergency responder platform

By Eric Wicklund
09:09 AM

A Chicago-based developer of personal health records and clinical support systems for the military is launching a new platform for civilian use.

MedRed, LLC, unveiled its EFR MedCom emergency first responder command and communications platform at last month’s HIMSS09 conference and exhibition in Chicago. Developed with support from the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine Advanced Technology Research Center, the software application is designed to allow emergency responders at federal, state and local levels to communicate and collaborate during crises.

“We see this as a really unique application,” said William K. Smith, MedRed’s CEO and founder, who launched the company in 2004. “We’ve adapted what has worked well (in military settings) to help first responders where they need it the most.”

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Smith said the platform began as a clinical decision support system for the treatment of chemical weapons, biological weapons and blast injuries, and has been expanded to include mapping, credentialing and more knowledge bases (19 at last count). Aside from real-time credentialing and decision support, EFR MedCom is also designed to facilitate communication of casualty data to a command center, facilitate information exchange through the Nationwide Health Information network and develop information databases through the Google Health platform.

“Real-time communication and accurate information are critical to saving lives during an emergency,” Smith said  “First responders on the ground need to be able to collect health information quickly and share the data broadly with others in order to formulate the best plan of action. And it needs to happen in real time and on the go.”

MedRed’s success in recent years has been tied to its military projects. After acquiring the rights to the Special Operations Medical Diagnostic System in 2004, the company developed an online PHR manager in 2005 and created the DiagnosTX clinical decision support system in 2006. The company partnered with Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center last year to develop decision support for soldiers with traumatic brain injury, then installed its DiagnosTX system at Walter Reed.

“EFR MedCom allows us, for the first time, to harness all the information out there – personal health records, medical expertise, important observations – during an emergency situation,” said Craig H. Llewellyn, founding director of the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian and Assistance Medicine (CDHAM). “Until this point, first responders have been severely limited by an inability to access critical information when they need it most. Now … first responders will have a means to collaborate and connect to a central source of data all at one time, in real time.”

Smith said MedRed will make EFR MedCom available for purchase by national, state and local first responder organizations on June 1. He’s also looking to create a pilot project for the system in Washington and one or two other major urban areas.

“We’re interested in feedback,” he said. “We want them to make it theirs.”

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