Medical Officials Can Scan Bibs for Health Information if Problem Develops
Emergency room physician and runner Mark Westfall knows medical emergencies can happen at long-distance running events. That’s why he paired up with technology experts to create a quick response, or QR, code to help officials at this year’s Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction get necessary health information in case of an emergency.
“Marathons are called an extreme sport for a reason. People can get sick or get confused and the QR code is a safe and secure way to share information in an emergency,” said Dr. Westfall, the medical director for this year’s Fox Cities Marathon and an emergency room physician at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah and ThedaCare Medical Center-New London.
When runners sign up for the marathon, the basic information they provide – including emergency contact information – is used to create a personal health record database called SynChart. A unique QR code is then generated and placed on the corner of each runner’s bib. Runners also have the option of entering in additional information, such as health conditions, medications and allergies.
“If something happens, medical officials can just scan the QR code and we’ll know the person’s name and emergency contact information. People don’t always have someone right there at the course,” Dr. Westfall said.
After the race, the QR code is disabled, making the information no longer available. “It’s very secure. If you throw out your bib, it’s not like someone can come by and scan it and have that information,” Dr. Westfall said. “As the company owner, I can’t even access it once it’s been turned off.”
During the race, only medical officials can see the health information and they need to input an access code before viewing the runner’s file, he added.
The Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Miron Construction provides a healthy weekend of five running or walking events for any age or ability. With nearly 8,000 participants expected in 2014, the 24th annual event is set for September 19-21, 2014. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Miron Construction partners with area charities and donates any proceeds to area non-profit organizations.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. Community Health Network, which includes Community Memorial Hospital in Berlin, and Wild Rose Memorial Hospital are in the process of affiliating with ThedaCare. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.