“911, What’s your emergency?”

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Model Diana-Maria, a 3rd year medical student at Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, faculty of Medicine, located in Bucharest, Romania. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The first telephone is known to have been invented  in 1876, whereas the first 9-1-1 call was made in 1968, in Alabama. Since then, technology has dramatically expanded, improving and innovating every domain, including the medical field.

The first emergency number has been implemented 83 years ago. Nowadays, people benefit from the creation of it, and the number of lives saved by using the system outnumbers the imagination. The U.S. 911 system handles 500,000 calls daily, or about 183 million annually.

At present, a single device can save or improve your life in various ways, whether we are speaking of medical conditions or other domains. Due to the advances in digital technology, a smartphone can not only help you with texting or dialing in case of emergency, but can also help with various medical pathologies, especially with those with a high rate among the population. For example, in case of diabetes, several applications have been created in the past years, in order to help the self-management of a diagnosed patient. These apps can be used for monitorising the levels of the blood glucose, recommending alimentary diets, or quite creating reminders and alarms for taking medication. Those who can benefit from it are not only the patients, but also the doctors, who can follow the evolution tracked by the smartphone and also keep in touch with their patients, regarding the evolution of the pathology. Some reports from  2017 could show that more than 1500 diabetes-related  apps were available for users at that  time.

Another frequent pathology benefiting from the use of the smartphones is asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 13 people suffer from this condition, leading to the creation of numerous apps helping the patients in need. These applications allow the users  to monitor their pathology more closely, by providing them a daily risk rate, based on the weather evolution and using datas regarding air quality. Moreover, a personalised diary can be created virtually, with triggers, medications, symptoms, to be later analyzed by a specialist.

These are only few exemples, but the use of telemedicine has been described for various medical conditions. Starting from something as simple as a phone call, nowadays the concept of “telehealth” is evolving with lighning speed, promising to save more and more people affected by different pathologies.

Even though virtual interaction cannot replace the physical one, the use of the expanding mobile technologies is unquestionable and every life saved, every person adding an improvement to their condition, every tool helping the specialists reach their patients, represent a win for the society.

About the author

Model Diana-Maria is a 3rd year medical student at Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, faculty of Medicine, located in Bucharest, Romania and also a member of FASMR, as local coordinator of SCORP – Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace – and the Assistant of the National Officer for Human Rights and Peace.

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