A new health app, RapidSOS’ Haven app, could help deliver emergency care to patients who call 911 by automatically sharing their location information when calling from their smartphone.

Despite the fact that you can call 911 anywhere in the country, emergency services in the US are surprisingly fragmented and somewhat antiquated. Even though Google Maps knows exactly where you are, when you call 911 from your smartphone, the person you’re talking to often doesn’t get that same information. We talked recently about how Google Europe is launched an Emergency Location Service for Android phones that will share that information with emergency services automatically.

The Haven app from RapidSOS tries to address this problem in the US. Basically, the Haven app lets you call 911 through the app. It then shares location and health history, which you enter when setting up the app, with the dispatcher.

After setting up your profile in the Haven app, it’s pretty easy to use – the app opens directly to the call screen. It also has a texting feature that you lets you communicate via text messages with the 911 dispatcher.

Haven app 9

It also has some other really interesting features including an international emergency feature that has the local “911” equivalent number for countries all over the world. Another interesting feature is Family Connect. Like some other apps, it lets you share your location and “check in” with family & friends to let them know you’ve arrived at your destination. The more innovative part of this feature though is that it lets your family & friends call 911 on your behalf, sharing your location & health history when they do.

One concern I did have about the Haven app was buried in its Privacy Policy, where there’s a license to use everything you enter into the app in any way RapidSOS wants. I’ve read a fair number of health app privacy policies and this seems like incredibly broad language. Before I recommend this to patients, I’d want to see some clarification here (I’ve asked for it and will update the review if we get more information).

Haven app 9

One other caveat I’ll add to this review is that I did not test whether it delivers the information as promised, for obvious reasons. I did contact RapidSOS who assured us that it works with all 911 dispatch centers in the US.

  • Price
    • Free trial period (currently one year for a family); $2.99/month individual and $4.99/month family
    • Family Connect feature, especially the ability to call 911 for family members. Useful as more and more people find themselves in the role of caregiver at a distance.
    • Has somehow figured out how to work with the thousands of dispatch centers & various software vendors in the US
    • International emergency service numbers built into app
  • Dislikes
    • Vague and broad privacy policy statement that seems to give company free rein on personal info entered into the app
  • Overall

    An innovative health app that tackles an important problem in emergency health care, the Haven app offers a really valuable tool. Best for people who are fairly tech savvy or can invest some time to learn how to use the app. I’d really like to see some more clarity on that privacy policy before using it or recommending it to patients.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Straightforward user interface that gets to the point right away on the home screen

  • Multimedia Usage

    Appropriately used for the app’s purpose

  • Price

    Reasonably priced for the service delivered, though I’d hope cities/towns eventually pay for it instead

  • Real World Applicability

    Very useful but need more clarity on privacy policy to get 5 stars here

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S

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