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News Release
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 3, 2016
For more information, contact:
Thorsten Rühelmann
Media Relations
National Capital Poison Center
Washington, DC
ruehlemann@poison.org
(202) 677-1863

First Online App for Poison Emergencies Augments Traditional Services
An App That Can Save Lives

Washington, DC. - webPOISONCONTROL® is the first App for poison emergencies. It was developed by the National Capital Poison Center and is being used by Poison Centers in New Mexico, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska, Utah, Ohio, Virginia and DC. A new study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine finds that webPOISONCONTROL augments traditional poison control services. More than 91% of  its users found the tool quick and easy to use.

The webPOISONCONTROL tool determines in seven easy steps how dangerous an exposure is based on the substance and amount swallowed, age, weight and time since exposure. Geolocation is determined to make the case available to the appropriate poison center should further guidance be required. For people who took too much of a medicine or swallowed something that might be poisonous, webPOISONCONTROL can help decide if it's safe to stay home, or if a call to Poison Control or visit to an emergency room is required.

The free webPOISONCONTROL app includes 42,000 products linked to 1,240 ingredient algorithms. More than 185,000 barcodes allow mobile app users to scan the product container. The app has already been used to guide the care of 20,400 poisoning cases.

Toby Litovitz, MD and Executive & Medical Director of the National Capital Poison Center: "Some are embarrassed to call or fear being judged. Others feel an app is more convenient, even faster, than calling a hotline, especially when there‘s a crying baby. But the public should know that it’s always OK to call Poison Control (800-222-1222)."

Toby Litovitz: "We noted many inaccuracies in poison information that is currently available on the web. webPOISONCONTROL was developed to make Poison Control more accessible and respond to the need for a trusted online resource for poison emergencies, especially the need for an app that provided reliable, case-specific recommendations. Many people just won’t call."

The app is available online at www.webpoisoncontrol.org, or can be downloaded on mobile devices from the App Store or Google play.

About the study

webPOISONCONTROL’s first 9,256 cases were just analyzed in a study http://www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(16)30230-3/pdf in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine (published in August). The study found that the app is safe, quick, and easy to use. Cases analyzed occurred from February 11, 2015 through February 25, 2016. 73.3% were triaged to home, 2.1% to an emergency department, and 24.5% directed to call poison control. Children younger than 6 years were involved in 75.2% of cases. Automated follow-up was done in 31.2% of home-triaged cases; 82.3% of these had no effect. No major or fatal outcomes were reported. Median case completion time was 4.1 minutes.

About the National Capital Poison Center

The National Capital Poison Center, founded in 1980, is an independent, private, not-for-profit organization and an accredited poison center. Its nurse and pharmacist Certified Specialists in Poison Information provide 24/7 telephone guidance for poison emergencies, free of charge. It also provides online guidance for poison emergencies through the webPOISONCONTROL tool, health professional education in toxicology, and poison prevention education. Service focuses on the metro DC area with a national scope for projects such as webPOISONCONTROL, the National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333), and The Poison Post®.

The mission of National Capital Poison Center is to prevent poisonings, save lives, and limit injury from poisoning. In addition to saving lives, Poison Control decreases health care costs for poisoning cases. In 2015, the 55 U.S. poison control centers provided telephone guidance for nearly 2.2 million human poison exposures.

For more information

Thorsten Rühlemann
Media Relations
National Capital Poison Center
Washington, DC
ruehlemann@poison.org 
(202) 677-1863

Press Release August 3, 2016 (pdf)

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