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How Your Smartphone Can Save Your Life

Make sure that your apps have important medical information

Apps to track medicines/health of spouse, adult children, elder parent, etc.

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While smartphone users have made health tracking apps popular, medical emergency information and records are important to have at hand.

Smartphone users are increasingly savvy about fitness tracking and weight loss apps, but many overlook the potential of the technology to keep medical records for yourself and loved ones at hand.

Emergency medical information

Both iPhones and Androids typically have an In Case of Emergency (ICE) app that allows first responders to access critical medical information on your phone from the lock screen, without knowing the passcode. Information can include prescription allergies, medical conditions, blood type and emergency contacts. 

There are also ICE apps available for download, including the ICE Standard ER 911, available for $.99, which puts an emergency information card on your lockscreen in case of an accident. 

To have more detailed medical information at hand, the MyChart app for iPhones and Androids provides information on vaccinations, last doctor's visit and prescriptions, Digital Trends reports.

Medical records of family members 

Having the medical information of your loved ones at hand could be invaluable during an emergency, particularly when the patient is unable to answer questions. This could include medical records for a spouse, adult or underage child, as well as aging parents. HealthIT.gov offers numerous recommendations for online personal health records management for families, including: 

  • CareZone, which works with iPhones, iPads and Androids and creates a care profile to log important health information about you and your loved ones. While it can work for any family member, it also incorporates a shareable task list for caregivers, and a journal to track medications. 
  • A Microsoft Health Vault account gives you access to your medical records and helps you get data to and from your medical provider. Records can be added for loved ones as well and you can also create an emergency profile for each member of your family. 
  • No More ClipBoard offers accounts for up to 10 family members and can be used on desktops, notebooks, tablets and mobile devices. Additionally, patients can exchange electronic data with any health care professional. 

Medical care for adult children

While children legally become adults at age 18, parents are often still involved in their medical care and decisions for many years beyond. However, legally parents have no rights to access their adult children's medical records during an emergency because of health care privacy laws. Parents should seek certain forms for their adult children, including HIPAA authorization, medical power of attorney and durable power of attorney, and keep a scanned copy on their smartphones (and their children's phones) in case of a medical emergency.

Having critical medical information at the tip of your fingers can make all the difference during a health crisis for you or a family member.

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