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Your iPhone Could Save Your Life

Medical ID


It’s a bright, sunny, crisp fall day. 

You roll your car windows down as you back out of your driveway, allowing the fresh air to fill your car.

Your radio blares your favorite song from a local radio station.

It’s a great day for a short road trip, you think to yourself as you pull onto the highway.

About twenty miles into your excursion, suddenly a wrong-way driver slams head-on into your car.  You had no time to react, no time for defensive driving techniques.

Your airbag deploys while your car spins non-stop in the middle of the busy highway, striking another vehicle.  Your head slams against the driver’s side door.

Pain radiates through your body.  You feel woozy.  Then you black out.

Emergency responders quickly arrive, extricate you from your vehicle, and rush you to the nearest emergency room.  You have no awareness of the events around you because you’re unconscious.

Effective treatment of life-threatening injuries requires emergency professionals to know as much vital information about you as possible – your past medical history, medications you’re taking, allergies and more.

If you’re alone, they also need to know how to contact a close friend or relative to inform them of the situation.

In days gone by, medical ID bracelets and keychains worn or carried by individuals used to provide critical information to emergency personnel.  Not so much anymore.

But what if this vital, life-saving information were available on a device that you most likely carry with you everywhere?  Your cell phone.

Apple introduced the new Health app in iOS8 for iPhones.  This app allows to you store critical medical information, such as:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Medical conditions
  • Medical notes
  • Allergies & reactions
  • Medications
  • Emergency contacts
  • Blood type
  • Organ donor status
  • Height and weight
  • Photo

First responders and medical providers can easily access this information, regardless if your phone requires a passcode or fingerprint. 

Here’s how to quickly set it up on your iPhone:

  1. From the iPhone home screen, choose the “Health” app. It’s the app with a white box with a pink heart in the right corner.
  2. You will notice a “Medical ID” option in the tool bar along the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap “Create Medical ID” in the middle of the screen. A screen will appear with field for you to enter your information into.
  4. If you have a passcode on your iPhone, ensure that the “Show When Locked” feature is enabled to guarantee this information can be accessed from your lock screen. (A green dot should appear next to this line when enabled.)
  5. Click Done in the top right corner to save your information.
  6. Once complete, test the feature by swiping the lock screen, tapping “Emergency” at the bottom left, and then tapping “Medical ID” on the next screen.

“Unfortunately, many people who come into the emergency department don’t have medical ID set up on their phone or don’t have an iPhone, but I always look,” says Colyn Barry, BSN, RN, CEN, an emergency nurse at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Life-threatening emergencies can happen anytime.  Why not take a few minutes now to set up your medical ID on your cell phone?  It could save your life!