Sometimes, a patient comes into the emergency room and there is no way of knowing who they are, or how to contact their next of kin. What many people don’t know is that you can set up accessible medical information through your phone even when it’s locked. This makes it easier for emergency responders to help you in a crisis situation.

The iPhone comes with a free app called “Health” (Note: You need to be running at least iOS 8 to take advantage of this feature). When you open the Health app, a menu bar appears at the bottom of the screen. At the far-right of the menu bar is a “Medical ID” icon. Tap this to enter  emergency information. You can fill in categories including Medical Conditions, Blood Type, Allergies & Reactions, and Medications. There is also a blank field for general medical notes, such as your preferred hospital or doctor, or any religious requests. Fill it in: It all helps an emergency responder treat you in an urgent situation. 

Further down in the “Health” app, you can add emergency contacts. Below this section, you’ll also find fields for blood type, height, weight, and your organ donor preference. When you’re done adding information, tap Done at the top of the screen to save your changes.

Once you fill out this information, you can access it even from your locked screen, as shown below.

iphone-6-access-medical-idWhen one taps “Emergency” on the bottom-left of the iPhone lock screen, it allows those without your passcode to make an emergency phone call. They then can tap “Medical ID” to bring up a screen showing the information you entered previously. Those accessing your Medical ID can tap on any of your emergency contacts to call them directly.

What if I don’t have an iPhone or smartphone?

Although it’s one of the most popular smart phones in the world, not everyone has an iPhone. You may want to use other more traditional methods to alert first responders to critical medical information, such as a bracelet, or card in your wallet or purse.

If your iPhone isn’t able to run iOS 8, or if you have another brand of smartphone, consider adding ICE contacts to your phone’s “favorites” list, or use a lock screen wallpaper image to display your important medical info. Android offers the free ICE app.

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