Smartphone video capability can help in emergency response

Bystanders at an emergency scene have been able to get cell phone assistance from 911 dispatchers for years now. But there may be more value in video than in audio, according to a study just published in this month's issue of the UK's Royal Society of Medicines Journal of Telemedicine & eHealth and written about on the 3G Doctor Blog.

The study shows that when dispatchers send video clips of emergency procedures like CPR, bystanders learn faster, and retain the information better during the crisis. Watching the video also seems to reduce stress and even makes bystanders more likely to provide emergency help at all, by raising their confidence that they can perform the procedures correctly, the study says.

Note: The just-published study is based on research completed in 2007, with respondents having a few reservations about video and audio quality. It's likely the results would be even more positive with today's more advanced phone screens, faster speeds, etc.

Smartphone videos also are helping at car accident scenes, according to a small study by vendor WreckWatch. The company's sensor-based system, in development at Vanderbilt University, not only collects data from the car's sensors itself, but also accepts videos uploaded by bystanders who recorded the accident itself or its aftermath. The system then aggregates the videos and sends them to emergency responders, to give them an preview of the scene they're approaching, company officials report.

For more info:
- check out this post from the 3G Doctor Blog
- here's the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare study
- read the WreckWatch study (.pdf)

Related Article:
After car-crash fiasco, hospital releases video showing response