Digital Cyclone, a subsidiary of Global Positioning System product maker Garmin, has teamed up with the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research to develop software that provides mobile-phone subscribers with several tools to help them in a medical emergency.
Starting this month, a service called Mayo Clinic InTouch will be available for $2.99 a month on Alltel, Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless networks.
Among its offerings, the new service provides first-aid tips, a symptom checker and health-related video news alerts. The service also provides subscribers with a list of nearby emergency and urgent-care facilities.
Subscribers can enter either their city or ZIP code to search the list of more than 3,800 medical facilities. If they have a GPS-enabled phone, the device can automatically pinpoint the nearest facilities without users having to type in a location.
The pervasive penetration of cell phones today makes them a great, many experts say.
More than 230 million Americans subscribe to cell phone service. And many of these people do not leave home without their phones. As a result, cell phones are often the. So it should come as little surprise that of the 200 million calls made to 911 operators each year, , according to estimates from the Federal Communications Commission.
Garmin and Mayo Clinic officials see the new software and accompanying service as a way to further extend the usability of cell phones during a medical crisis.
"The Mayo Clinic InTouch program lets cell phone users tap into the expertise of Mayo Clinic at nearly all times--at home, in the office, at a park or in the car," Craig Burfeind, president of Digital Cyclone, said in a statement. "This service provides tremendous peace of mind and possibly life-saving assistance when health concerns arise."