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The iPhone comes with a free health app called Medical ID that is available to emergency personnel even if your phone is locked and you are incapacitated and unable to provide your medical history or contact information. It can provide first responders and hospital workers with important information that can save your life.
To use it, find the health app on your screen. Open it, then tap the “Medical ID” option on the bottom right (looks like a 6 pointed star). Select “Edit,” then fill out the relevant medical information it asks for (date of birth, medical conditions, notes, allergies and medications list). When you’re finished, press “Done” (top right of screen).
If you have an Apple device running iOS 10 or later, AppleInsider explains how to set up and use the Medical ID feature in the Health app.
Now Apple is looking to expand the app’s capabilities and has enlisted the help of some of the biggest medical intuitions in the country to participate. Physicians will put patients’ medical information – including such things as a list of prescribed medications, allergies, lab results and relevant medical conditions – into a file that can be transferred to the phone.
Not only will this help the user in situations like interacting with a pharmacist or other health provider not immediately privy to your information – since your medical information is available at the touch of a button — this could be crucial, lifesaving information in a medical emergency.
If the phone is enabled, medical personnel can access this from your password screen by selecting “Emergency” on the bottom left of the screen.
As one nurse writes:
Working in a public hospital and seeing patients in ER all the time, I see many patients come in and we have had no way of knowing who they are, or how to contact their next of kin, or their medical history!
And their phones are locked!
Android users have a similar app available to them called CareZone, but like the Apple Health app for users not participating the beta testing, the information has to be entered manually.
Institutions participating in the Apple beta testing – which began this week — include Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
According to The New York Times:
In addition to the iPhone Health app, Apple has developed ResearchKit, software to help researchers develop iPhone apps to conduct health studies, and HealthKit, a platform that allows consumers to share health data on their iPhone or Apple Watch with health and fitness apps. Apple is also sponsoring clinical research, called the Apple Heart Study, at Stanford University to determine whether an app for the Apple Watch can detect irregular heart rhythms.
The Apple Heart Study has more than 54,000 participants; making it one of the largest such studies ever conducted. The app enabled researchers to collect much more data than would have been possible in normal studies of this type.
It seems Apple has gone all-in in an effort to grab a corner on the health care information market. The New York Times reports that Apple’s listing of job opening shows that it’s looking for hardware and software engineers and projects managers for a “health special projects team” to join “an exciting new project at an early stage.”
While the privacy of your medical data is always a concern, The Times notes Apple says it will not see the medical data, which is encrypted and stored locally on the phone, unless the user chooses to share it with the company.