For many South Africans, reliable access to emergency services is considered essential but the reality is that not knowing who to call or where you are can mean the difference between an emergency and a tragedy.
The increasing need for an intelligent one-stop solution in an emergency was recognised by three South African entrepreneurs who harnessed their individual expertise in healthcare, tech and business to develop and launch mySOS – a free emergency mobile app available for both Apple and Android devices that connects users to the closest and most appropriate emergency service for their situation.
On opening the app an automatic countdown begins to alert emergency services of an individual’s location unless cancelled by the user. The app also securely stores medical aid and insurance details, as well as notifies the user’s emergency contact if necessary. In addition to providing contact information for medical, fire, sea rescue, police and road assistance services, the app also allows users to track themselves while going for a run, for example, and then share that information with friends and family so they know their whereabouts, estimated arrival times at their destination and take appropriate action if necessary.
Co-founder of mySOS, Fanie Hattingh, a Medical Doctor with over 10 years of experience in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), sat down with eHealthNews and explained that the intuitive, pre-emptive design of the app was a product of his and his co-founders experience in EMS, handset-based location services, mapping and navigation solutions and GSM (Global System for Mobile communication).
“mySOS offers people access to appropriate emergency assistance when they need it most and when they sometimes aren’t in a position to know who to call, how to reach them or explain their location. We designed the app to be a reliable, up-to-date, all-inclusive emergency services solution covering both the public and private sectors,” said Hattingh.
“The sophistication of the app is underpinned by the strength of the network of service providers who can respond to a request for help quickly and efficiently through the use of our technology. And that assurance is something not many other apps can offer South Africans,” continued Hattingh.
Since its launch the app has been immensely successful, with over 22,000 downloads. mySOS have just completed their first EMS call centre integration, and further planned upgrades to the app include linking it directly to third party service providers, as well as live tracking of participants at sports events.