Think pieces | Updates

Emergency medical information accessible via your iPhone

October 21, 2015

IPhone users now have access to a potentially important new health feature called Medical ID. This can be used to provide an overview of key health information which can be easily accessed in the event of an emergency.

Medical ID is programmed by the user to save personal medical details such as health conditions, allergies, and current medications. Users can state whether they are an organ donor and give details of their emergency contact’s name and number.

Medical ID is built in to the Health app found in all iOS 8 onwards for iPhone. Users can set it up by launching ‘Health’, choosing the ‘Medical ID’ option, and then ‘Create Medical ID’.

IPhone users with a passcode locked handset can consider enabling the ‘Show When Locked’ function. This enables first responders or health care professional on the scene of a medical incident to access potentially vital medical information by swiping the lock screen, tapping ‘Emergency’, and then viewing the person’s medical details.

There are some privacy concerns that need to be considered before using the Medical ID feature as personal medical information will be accessible to anyone who has physical access to the phone, even when it is locked. In addition another concern is that not everyone will know how to access this medical information so it may be necessary to still use more typical methods to alert first responders to critical medical information, such as a bracelet, or card in kept in a wallet.

If your iPhone is not able to run iOS 8, or if you have another brand of smartphone, please consider adding an ‘in case of emergency’ or ‘ICE’ contact to your phone’s favourites list. In addition, a straightforward way of displaying emergency medical information if you do not have an iPhone is to use a lock screen wallpaper image to display a list of important medical details. This can provide all of the relevant information in an equally accessible and user friendly way.

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