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Your iPhone could be a lifesaver

Tagged In:  Nursing

Doctors and nurses are encouraging iPhone users to create a Medical ID, which gives healthcare staff vital information in a medical emergency.

Did you know that iPhones have a handy built-in app Medical ID facility that could save a person's life? It stores important data about the owner's health, giving first responders, doctors and nurses fast access to vital information such as allergies and prescribed medications. 

Here's how it works...

Medical ID is a feature of the iPhone's Health app, which comes free with the iOS operating system. A similar feature called ICE (In Case of Emergency) is available as standard on newer Android devices, and there are also a number of free and paid smartphone apps available to download.

You can create an iPhone Medical ID in four simple steps:

1. Open the 'Health' app and tap 'Create Medical ID'.

2. On the next screen you can enter a range of information, including your date of birth, height, weight, blood type, medical conditions, allergies or reactions to medications. You can also confirm whether or not you are an organ donor and enter one or more emergency contacts. 

3. Turn on 'show when locked' to make the key data in your Medical ID available without entering the access PIN. 

4. Tap 'Done' and your Medical ID will be saved.

The really clever thing about the Medical ID function is that the information can be accessed by the doctor or nurse even if the phone is locked and they don't know the user's access PIN. They simply press the 'Home' button, then tap 'Emergency'. On the next screen they can make an emergency call or tap 'Medical ID' to see the emergency information stored on the device.

Health professionals such as diabetes specialist nurses and community psychiatric nurses are being encouraged to increase awareness of this handy iPhone feature, which can carry so much more useful information than a dog tag, ID bracelet or wallet card. Every day, paramedics, as well as A&E doctors and nurses, have to deal with patients who are unconscious or non-communicative. This is a simple way of quickly and reliably giving those health professionals access to vital information to help with diagnosis and treatment.

The smartphone is one of the great innovations of our time. According to Ofcom statistics from 2016, 71% of adults in the UK own one and there are no less than two billion users worldwide. However, many of those people may not realise that the whizzy little piece of tech in their pocket not only makes them super-connected, but could also save their lives. All they have to do is spend a couple of minutes setting up their Medical ID. 

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