CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine – The TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K has launched a pilot program to collect the medical history of runners and enhance care on race day. Race officials are urging runners to participate in the groundbreaking voluntary program.
The TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon is the first road race nationwide to implement an online personal health record service as part of the medical care provided to runners.
Race officials are partnering with a company called MedicalSummary.com to offer the 2008 race field an opportunity to submit vital medical information safely and securely online.
In the past, race officials relied solely on a rapid medical team response from a well-educated staff to help an ailing runner, as doctors had no way of determining medical history along the course.
That will change with the 2008 race on August 2. With the new program, the medical team will use secure codes to access potentially lifesaving information, such as whether someone has diabetes or is prone to anaphylactic shock.
Participation is voluntary and free for runners from the point of registration through a two-week period following the race. Race volunteers also are eligible to participate.
Runners, who were notified of the program following registration in March, are asked to go to their race confirmation notification and click on the MedicalSummary link. So far, fewer than 10 percent of runners have signed up, prompting race officials to try to raise awareness about the pilot program.
“We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the care that we provide runners and make this race as safe as any,” said Michael Baumann, MD, the medical director for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K.
Christopher Troyanos, ATC, the medical coordinator for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon, added that the pilot program “represents a major shift in road race medical care.”
“This program is strictly voluntary, but one that we believe can make a world of difference in our ability to care for our runners,” said Troyanos, who has more than 30 years of experience providing road race medical care.
Technological advances in both medicine and communications gives medical providers almost instant access to an individual’s medical history and patient information, allowing physicians to make critical decisions when needed. These standards are used every day in a hospital or doctor’s office.
But a road race presents a particular difficult challenge.
Runners are typically asked to provide medical history and emergency contact info on their bibs, but experience says few do, Troyanos said. As a result, if a runner suffers heat stroke, for example, and is incapacitated, medical personnel must administer treatment without any information about medications or allergies.
With this pilot program, each participating runner may carry a laminated MedSum Card. Their MedicalSummary Emergency Access Code will be linked their bib number. In case of emergency, medical personnel will use to code to access critical information online from the medical tent at the finish line in Fort Williams or anywhere along the course.
The system also allows medical personnel to connect with a family member or loved one who might not be aware of the problem.
Personal health record services such as MedicalSummary.com already are popular in the travel industry for travel abroad. Utilizing the service for road races makes perfect sense, said Margie Kelly, the owner of Athens, Georgia-based MedicalSummary.com and a part-time Cape Elizabeth, Maine resident.
Kelly met Troyanos, who also serves as the medical coordinator for the Boston Marathon, at a National Athletic Trainers conference in Atlanta in 2006. She attended the 2006 Beach to Beacon at his invitation, observing a delirious runner with a 108 degree core body temperature in an ice immersion tub in the medical tent with no medical or emergency contact info available.
“That’s when I truly understood Chris’s desire to make this a reality for the Beach to Beacon,” Kelly said. “I commend him for his efforts. It’s truly ground breaking.”
Runners might be hesitant to participate because they fear their confidential information will not be safe, she said. “They need to know that MedicalSummary.com keeps all information that they provide protected by an encrypted security program,” she said. “We never cull, share or sell info on this site.”
Registration is free through a two-week period following the race. Those who chose to continue will be charged a $30 annual subscription fee, she said. MedicalSummary.com will donate 25 percent of the annual fee of any runner to the race charity, the Susan L. Curtis Foundation.
The 11th annual TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race is set for Saturday, Aug. 2, in coastal Cape Elizabeth. The race attracts 5,500 runners, including some of the world’s best elite runners as well as the top Maine and New England runners. More than $60,000 in prize money is available, including $10,000 each to the top man and woman.
The race begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77 and ends 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park at the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in America.
This year’s race beneficiary is the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, the sponsor of Camp Susan Curtis, a summer camp dedicated to improving the lives of economically disadvantaged Maine children ages 8-18. The organization provides traditional camping experiences interwoven with a leadership development and life skills curriculum. For more information, visit http://www.susancurtisfoundation.org/.
TD Banknorth, through the TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation, will provide a cash donation of $30,000 to the Susan L. Curtis Foundation. The non-profit organization also will benefit from fundraising activities and publicity through its association with the race.
TD Banknorth is the title sponsor of the race founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the Olympic gold medalist and Maine’s most recognizable athlete. In addition to TD Banknorth, other major corporate partners this year include Hannaford, Poland Spring, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine, MaineHealth, Nike, WCSH TV-6 and Northeast Delta Dental. For additional info about the race, visit http://www.beach2beacon.org/ or call the race hotline at (888) 480-6940.