Set Up An Emergency Medical ID On Your iPhone STAT

by Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner

Don’t you just love it when you find out new and amazing things your phone can do? Aside from storing photos and running the Facebook app, of course. Did you know, for instance, that your iPhone could save your life. Yep, that’s right. There’s actually a way to set up an emergency medical ID on your iPhone, so that medical professionals have access to important health information in an emergency. Not only that, but it’s the simplest thing ever.

I had no idea either.

But when I learned about it the other day, courtesy of a viral post from 2015 that was making the rounds again, I immediately set my phone up with my info. It literally took me less than five minutes, and I feel that much more at ease. I became an organ donor too (not the right choice for everyone, of course), which was something I had wanted to do for a while, and now finally got around to it.

Here’s the post that I’m referring to. It was written by an awesome nurse named Julia Thompson. Thompson, who has worked in emergency rooms, explains with clarity why imputing this emergency info into your phone is a vitally important thing to do.

“Working in a public hospital and seeing patients in ED 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!” writes Thompson, adding, “And their phones are locked!”

Wow, I totally never thought of it that way. But come to think about it, if I were ever rushed to the hospital and was unconscious or unable to respond for some reason, medical staff would have no way of knowing who I was, or any important medical information about me. And it would be a shame if I had my phone on me, but all of my pertinent info was on lockdown.

As an ER nurse, Thompson wishes that people knew that there was an easy solution to this problem. She explains that all iPhones have a “Health App” (totally free and already installed on your phone). Once you use the app to imput your data, your emergency information will be available to anyone who needs it even when your phone is locked.

As Thompson explains it: “This information can be accessed even while the phone is locked by clicking on the emergency options and can display things like name, DOB, emergency contacts, medical conditions and even blood type and donor status. You can even add notes.”

Mind. Blown.

Here’s how to do to it. I promise it’s easy-as-pie. I have a tendency to be pretty technologically compromised, and I found it totally do-able:

1. Open the “Health” app on your iPhone. It looks like this:

2. Next, click on the “Medical ID” icon on the bottom right-hand side.

3. Enter your info, as much or as little as you see fit. I would definitely recommend putting in your blood type, so that you could more quickly receive a transfusion should you need one. Adding current medical conditions, medications you are currently taking, and any allergies you have could also be potentially lifesaving in an emergency. There is also an option to become an organ donor, which also just takes a few seconds.

4. One last, important thing. Make sure you slide the panel to “show when locked” so that your information will be available to medical personnel when your phone is locked.

5. Click “Done” and you’re good to go. You can edit your information anytime by following these same steps and clicking on “Edit” in the Medical ID tab.

Pretty dang easy, huh? If you’re feeling unsure, you can check out this little video for some help as well.

And for Andriod users, don’t fret: it appears that some phones come with similar Medical ID features. Other users will have to install an app for it, but installing the Medical ID ICE contacts app might do the trick.

So there you go. It will take you just a few minutes, and I promise you’ll sleep a bit better tonight knowing you’ve given yourself a little extra protection in the event of a medical emergency.