In an emergency, life-saving information will now appear in the first place you’re likely to look — your smart phone.

KeckAlert, a new mobile emergency information app, is available solely for the use of Keck Medicine of USC staff members. The app will allow users across the enterprise to access vital information in the case of a natural disaster, catastrophe or hospital emergency.

“This app is about saving lives,” said Robert C. Vance III, emergency management and business continuity officer. “It will allow us to communicate quickly in the event of an internal emergency or external disaster.”

The app gives staff members quick access to emergency  procedures and detailed information on emergency preparedness — like what to do in the event of a major earthquake, bomb threat, fire, utility outage or an active shooter. Users will also be able to call various  emergency phone numbers like the USC Public Safety Department directly from the app.

In the event of an emergency, notifications with important information will automatically appear on the screen of the user’s smart phone, along with an audible alert. The app does need cell service to work.

“This gives us a two-way communications path in an emergency,” Vance said. “Users will ask ‘What’s going on?’ and we can say ‘This is what’s going on.’”
KeckAlert has other built-in features, like turning the user’s smart phone into a flashlight.  The app was developed by Vance in collaboration with the Keck Medicine of USC IT Department.

A mobile app is among the quickest and most effective ways to relay important information to hospital staff, Vance said.

“We are all connected to our devices,” he said. “People can access information on various topics quickly and efficiently though the app without going to a policy manual.”

All physicians and staff in the Keck Medicine of USC enterprise can download the app, including USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and USC Care employees. Phase One of the app’s release will be a Keck Hospital-based roll out. Additional windows are being built for Verdugo Hills Hospital and USC clinics.

“This app has been a long-time coming,” Vance said. “It will have long range implications for the entire medical enterprise.”

The app is will be available for iOS and Android operating systems. It can be downloaded from the Keck Medicine Internal App Store at

— Douglas Morino