Apple will automatically share emergency locations with 911 dispatchers
The 911 emergency service has not been updated since its implementation in the 1930s in the United Kingdom (999 service) and the United States since the 1990s.
However, Apple is set to disrupt the traditional emergency lines through its Apple iOS 12 technology.
More individuals now use mobile technology than traditional, outdated landline phones to contact emergency services. To reflect this change, Apple has announced that through its software upgrade, users will automatically be able to share their location when they dial 911, in a bid to reduce emergency response times and accurately provide their location, anywhere across the US.
The company’s HELO (Hybridised Emergency Location) previously estimated a mobile 911 caller’s location using cell towers and on-device data sources, such as GPS and Wi-Fi Access Points. Now, the company will utilise RapidSOS’s Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centres.
RapidSOS’s system will deliver the emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911 centres’ existing software.
“Communities rely on 911 centres in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.”
Only the responding 911 centre will have access to the user’s location during an emergency call.
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“911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection,” added RapidSOS CEO, Michael Martin.
“We are excited to work with Apple to provide first responders a new path for accurate, device-based caller location using transformative Next Generation 911 technology.”
The FCC requires carriers to locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021. iOS location services are capable of exceeding this requirement today.
“We’re thrilled that Apple is giving 911 centres access to device-based location data via a thoroughly-tested, standards-based approach,” commented Rob McMullen, President of the National Emergency Number Association, the 911 Association.
“This will accelerate the deployment of Next Generation 911 for everyone, saving lives and protecting property.”
“This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety,” added Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman from 2013 to 2017.
“Lives will be saved thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS.”
“Helping 911 services quickly and accurately assess caller location has been a major issue since my time at the FCC,” noted Dennis Patrick, FCC Chairman from 1987 to 1989. “This advancement from Apple and RapidSOS will be transformative for emergency
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025.
At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance.
Meeting regulation requirements
It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.
Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.
However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.
Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk.
With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?
Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.
Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.
Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools.
When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone.