How to set up your emergency Medical ID with iOS 8's new Health app

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
One of the lesser known -- but potentially most important -- features of Apple's newly released iOS 8 mobile operating system is a digital "Medical ID," which can provide important personal health related information in the event of an emergency.




The Medical ID feature is built in to the new Health application found in iOS 8 for iPhone. Users can configure it by launching Health, tapping the Medical ID menu in the bottom right, and then choosing "Create Medical ID."

iPhone users with a passcode-locked handset can consider enabling the "Show When Locked" function, providing first responders or anyone else with emergency access to their Medical ID. Enabling this feature allows the Medical ID to be viewed by swiping the lock screen, tapping "Emergency," and then viewing the digital information.

A user's Medical ID can be configured with a custom picture and name, date of birth, list of medical conditions, notes, allergies, reactions and medications. It also allows users to display an emergency contact with name, telephone number, and relationship.

The Medical ID also allows users to enter their blood type, height and weight, and whether they are an organ donor. And if someone changes their mind about having such information available from their lock screen, all of the Medical ID information can be deleted via one button at the bottom of the editing page.

After the Medical ID has been created, users can always go back and make changes at any time through the Health app.

Medical ID is just one function of the new Health application in iOS 8, which aims to become a centralized repository for all of a user's health information, whether input manually or automatically collected through iPhone accessories.

The more advanced Health functions with connected applications and accessories have not yet gone live, as Apple apparently encountered last-minute bugs with its new HealthKit application programming interface tools for developers. Apple abruptly began pulling HealthKit-enabled applications from the App Store last week, alongside the launch of iOS 8, indicating that a formal launch for Health-compatible apps would come at a later date.

For more features and functions in iOS 8, see AppleInsider's ongoing iOS Tips series.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    I found the emergency data under Medical ID this morning and added information. One little grumble, for emergency contacts I wanted to set two names, my wife and a work colleague. The drop down choices had "spouse" rather than wife but that is fine. However ther was nothing in the drop down menu descriptions to select a tag for work colleague, so I choose "other". Stage that Apple seemed to have missed the fact that some phones are provided by businesses to staff and that having an emergency contact for work is helpful. Still, this is a small point from an otherwise good idea.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Great information. Had no idea about this feature, but immediately set it up. Will do the same for my fiance when I get home.. and am sharing with my whole family.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    I too wish there are more choices for the "Relationship" field, and an "enter your own" option. Other than that, I want to make it more visible. If I'm unconscious, will the emergency responder know how to pull up my Medical ID?
  • Reply 4 of 18

    I haven't used this yet, but thanks for the information.  Some questions:

     

    1)  How is this data accessible in an emergency?  Can a TouchID (finger print) be used in an emergency (if I am unconscious can a first responder use my finger to bring this up quickly)?  The "show when locked" feature is nice, but I really don't want some who borrows or steals my phone to have access to the is data.

     

    2)  Is this data considered to be a part of Apple's health care repository and those has extra security built in?

  • Reply 5 of 18
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,331member

    Since data is available to anyone who has possession of the phone, if you have touch ID hopefully they will touch it against your thumb and look up the data if you don't want it public.  How about a message to scan the users thumb from the lock page for emergency access?

  • Reply 6 of 18
    Anyone know why one of the most common measures of health has not been put into the iOS 8 health app, i.e. Blood Cholesterol? The Health app has Dietary Cholesterol (that is, the amount of cholesterol in the food & drink that you consume) but not Blood Cholesterol.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    reinthal wrote: »
    Anyone know why one of the most common measures of health has not been put into the iOS 8 health app, i.e. Blood Cholesterol? The Health app has Dietary Cholesterol (that is, the amount of cholesterol in the food & drink that you consume) but not Blood Cholesterol.

    Wouldn't you need a blood sample to test for that?
  • Reply 8 of 18
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Thanks for the tip.  I hadn't noticed that Apple had added the Health app to my apps (and it's not obvious to me why it appeared where it did, on the third screen of my apps listing and between other existing apps).

  • Reply 9 of 18
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EMoeller View Post

     

    I haven't used this yet, but thanks for the information.  Some questions:

     

    1)  How is this data accessible in an emergency?  Can a TouchID (finger print) be used in an emergency (if I am unconscious can a first responder use my finger to bring this up quickly)?  The "show when locked" feature is nice, but I really don't want some who borrows or steals my phone to have access to the is data.

     

    2)  Is this data considered to be a part of Apple's health care repository and those has extra security built in?


     

    Anyone with access to your phone can turn it on, swipe left, tap on "Emergency", and tap on "Medical ID" to see this information.  Of course by default this is disabled.  If you want random people to be able to access this information then provide it.  I chose to expose a drug allergy, my wife's name and phone, my blood type, and that I'm an organ donor and nothing else.  I don't know why I would want to include my height, weight and DOB, so I didn't include those, for example.

     

    I seriously doubt first responders will be trained/encouraged to unlock someone's phone using their finger.  Obviously if they did they could access all the health information (and buy some tunes to help pass the time).

  • Reply 10 of 18
    jungmark wrote: »
    Wouldn't you need a blood sample to test for that?

    Yes, but the same sort of thing goes for other measures in the Health app as well: Blood Pressure (that armband thingy), Blood Glucose (blood prick test), Blood Alcohol Content (a breathalyser or blood test).
  • Reply 11 of 18



    Sorry - Not their finger, but my finger.  If I'm unconscious a first responder could simply touch my finger to the phone and have access.  Apple could provide some specific action to only bring up emergency info upon that TouchID action (but that is not available now).

  • Reply 12 of 18
    As a paramedic, this is a great resource to have available. Another area I'd like to see added is a health card number. Although it is quite private and shouldn't be shared, a health card number allows for quicker access to medical records in emergency situations.

    Overall though, this is a great thing to have available. I hope lots of people use this.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    If you look for the Health app on your iPad, you won't find it. For reasons that defy good sense, the app won't install on iPads, new or old.

    That makes no sense. Many of those who could benefit from the Health apps see no reason to own an iPhone with their iPad does all they need. And hospital staff often use iPads rather than iPhones.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,459member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by reinthal View Post



    Anyone know why one of the most common measures of health has not been put into the iOS 8 health app, i.e. Blood Cholesterol? The Health app has Dietary Cholesterol (that is, the amount of cholesterol in the food & drink that you consume) but not Blood Cholesterol.

    Probably because cholesterol alone isn't a judge of your overall health, it's just one factor in determining a person's susceptibility to heart attack (per my doctor at my last several physicals). 

  • Reply 15 of 18
    This might seem obvious, but has anyone checked that the medical ID info is *NOT* accessible if the phone is in lost mode?
  • Reply 16 of 18
    rob53 wrote: »
    Probably because cholesterol alone isn't a judge of your overall health, it's just one factor in determining a person's susceptibility to heart attack (per my doctor at my last several physicals). 

    If not, neither are many of the other parameters in the Health app. I doubt BMI is as many use the skin-fold test instead nowadays. Sleep patterns? Number of falls? Useful, but more important than Blood Cholesterol?

    My doctor always measures blood cholesterol at every periodic medical check-up, so it's definitely an important measure. So, still wondering...
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post



    If you look for the Health app on your iPad, you won't find it. For reasons that defy good sense, the app won't install on iPads, new or old.



    That makes no sense. Many of those who could benefit from the Health apps see no reason to own an iPhone with their iPad does all they need. And hospital staff often use iPads rather than iPhones.

     

    I quite agree. Apple are morons for not including this on the iPad. They could sync it with iCloud. No doubt, most people will use the iPhone for the input, but it's useful to see the graphs on the bigger screen of the iPad. 

     

    With a bit of luck, it will come eventually.

  • Reply 18 of 18
    Attempting to enter my wife under "emergency contact info. The health app finds only her name and phone number (without any address) in "contacts" but shows no way of opening that data to add it as an emergency contact.
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