LIVINGSTON, NJ - Two and a half years ago, when Livingston, NJ resident Beth Tofel rushed to the hospital upon hearing her brother, 43, had a massive heart attack, the doctors who operated on her brother to save his life had no medical information to rely upon. They didn’t know if he had a history of heart disease, what medications he took, if he had any allergies, and what other medical conditions he had. Upon her arrival, after the surgery had begun, Tofel didn’t have all of the answers. Luckily, the doctors were able to save her brother’s life, but it was their questions that haunted Tofel long after her brother was given a clean bill of health.
And, it was those same questions that Tofel couldn’t answer that got her thinking about the importance of personal medical records. She knew that her doctor saved hers electronically, and that the hospital did the same. But she soon found out that the two systems could not talk to one another, which meant they both had silos of information. The more she researched, the more she realized that there were many silos out there. She wanted to find a way to solve the problem so that next time a doctor needed medical information for her or a loved one, or for anyone—the information would be readily available.
“The situation with my brother was eye-opening; it was my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” said Tofel. “It was very clear to me that the doctors really wanted my brother’s personal medical history and it was also very clear that I did not have the answers.”
Tofel shared her story with her friend Jason Hubert, also of Livingston, who had himself been exploring this challenge of a lack of immediate access to one’s medical and health records and who is her partner in this endeavor. Hubert was a 30-year IT veteran for big corporate, who had developed automated systems and supervised major projects before leaving the corporate world seven years ago to start his own company as an IT specialist for small to medium-size businesses and individuals.
The two put their heads together and FootprintID® was born. FootprintID helps people keep all of their medical records in one place for quick access to health information when it is needed. This information can also be shared with emergency responders, physicians, family members and friends. It’s like having a health record in your pocket. It is a personal portable health record that helps people quickly access their information via a secure web portal and mobile app.
FootprintID provides a user-friendly membership site with a portal that allows people to maintain their medical information for themselves, loved ones or for anyone they care for. The forms are easy to fill out and include areas for emergency contacts, health insurance information, lists of physicians and therapists, allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, family history, surgeries, treatments and more. There is also a document section where people can upload documents directly from the doctor, whether it's notes from a visit, test results, images, lab results or other medical documents including Advanced Directives and Power of Attorney. This information can also be printed out or easily shared via email.
The membership also comes with an app that makes accessing the information easy, and unlike other like services; the last information uploaded stays on the phone until the next use. This can be particularly beneficial when there is no Internet access, on an airplane, and in times of disaster.
“During Hurricane Sandy, many people were in shelters without their medications and many didn’t know the names of all of their meds or the doses,” said Tofel. “With FootprintID, this wouldn’t happen because each time the user makes updates to the system, the information like the medical contacts, medications and the rest are downloaded to the phone and they stay there until the next usage. This way the information is always accessible.”
People are telling Tofel and Hubert that “the product is awesome,” and that they realize that “in this changing healthcare environment it's a really critical thing to be in charge of your health information and medical records.”
Tofel isn’t the only one who has experienced a situation like she did with her brother. Recently, her friend’s daughter was rushed to the hospital from the lacrosse field. When the doctor asked if the patient had any allergies, the mom said she was allergic to Latex, and the father said, “Wait, I think that is our other daughter.”
Another client said that having all of her father’s medical information on FootprintID made caring for him during his final year of life easier to handle because she was able to keep track of his doctors, surgeries, medicines and tests all in one place.
“At times of stress, many things are rushing through our minds and things like allergies and medicine doses can be confused,” said Tofel. “It is virtually impossible to remember everything and that is where this product comes in. With FootprintID, there is no reason to have to rely on our memories because the information is available right at our fingertips.”
“FootprintID is a lifestyle product,” said Tofel. “It lets you keep all of your medical family’s medical information in one organized place.”
In regard to organization, the product is a boon to professional organizers who take on the challenge of helping clients sort through their files.
Tofel said, “When people are downsizing, moving, relocating, or going into a retirement or assisted living facility, they often have piles of medical documents, and other important items in drawers. Instead of just throwing them into boxes to take with them and never look through, or throwing them out and hoping they don’t need them, they can sort through the items and upload the important ones to FootprintID.”
In addition, Tofel said that the information stored in FootprintID can be easily shared with physicians and other medical providers. She said that Geriatric Care Managers and Home Health Care Agencies are finding FootprintID to be an extraordinarily beneficial tool for them as they participate and manage the care of individuals—most often seniors.
“Using FootprintID can help people avoid repetitive testing,” she said. “You know when you go to a new doctor and they ask when the last time you has bloodwork was, or how your cholesterol is? Well, with FootprintID, you can look at the app and give the exact date and details. This way, if the results are still considered to be current, there is no need to retest and worry whether the test will be covered.”
Being able to do this is also helpful when caring for an ailing parent in a different geographical location, a child at college or studying abroad, as well as when the user him/herself is traveling and away from his/her home physicians. With the advent of electronic medical records, Tofel said you can now go on to any physician’s portal and upload all of your medical records from there to FootprintID.
“If you use FootprintID, and get a call from an aging parent’s doctor or a hospital with your child as a patient, you can easily send the necessary information to the doctor requesting it,” she said.
Tofel said that another group finding FootprintID to be helpful are PTAs/HSAs, who are using the service as a fundraiser “because they like the idea of responsible fundraising.”
“They sell FootprintID just like they sell cookies and candles,” said Tofel. “However, in this instance, they are selling a health and wellness product, and getting back a percentage of the money raised as a fundraiser for the school.”
In addition, human resource managers are offering FootprintID as a paid benefit for employees. For a small fee, it can be added into a benefits portfolio package as an added value benefit for employees. Companies are recognizing the enormous value in focusing on health and wellness within their organizations, as not only do services like FootprintID benefit the employees individually, they also allow employees to be more productive and successful as a team.
According to Tofel, FootprintID is very affordable. An individual can purchase an individual membership for $40 for the first year, and pay $30 for every additional family member added. After that the renewal fee is $25 a year. In addition, the product is continually evolving with the times. Tofel and Hubert are constantly updating, upgrading and adding enhancements. FootprintID offers a robust service with great customer service that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 24/7 at the FootprintID call center. Also, unlike other personal medical record programs, FootprintID is offered in both English and Spanish.
When asked for her ideal target audience, Tofel said, “I’d love like to say all Americans because that is really accurate, but right now, we are directing our energies toward the elder population, those ages 60 and over, children and people with medical conditions, and businesses that want to provide their employees with an added value health benefit at a very affordable price.”
FootprintID is empowering people by putting them in charge of their own information.
To read more about FootprintID, click below:
- Summer Camp is Around the Corner—Have You Submitted your Medical Forms Yet?
- Knowledge Is Power
- FOOTPRINT ID September Newsletter
TAP into West Essex is proud to highlight one of our main sponsors, FootprintID®. TAP into West Essex thanks FootprintID for its continued support in helping us to deliver important news to the residents of this community on a daily basis. Because of sponsors like FootprintID, TAP into West Essex is completely free to subscribers.
To learn more about becoming a sponsor of TAP into West Essex, contact Jackie Schatell at (201) 618-7444.