Your smartphone can be an essential tool for South African paramedics in an emergency situation.
Modern smartphones allow first responders to determine your allergies, reactions, existing conditions, and medical aid information without unlocking the device.
ER24 communications manager Werner Vermaak told MyBroadband that medics make every effort to identify patients who cannot identify themselves, and medical information accessible from a smartphone lock screen is helpful.
Vermaak said that smartphones are often damaged, off, or stolen during an emergency, however, and that users must not make sensitive personal information available.
“It is a helpful tool and we encourage people to keep their details updated, [but] keep details such as ID numbers and PIN numbers away from the emergency notes or partition,” said Vermaak.
“Paramedics can use this feature to access the patient’s emergency details, contact next of kin, obtain vital medical information, and know which hospital to transport the patient to.”
The information you can put into your device’s emergency menu varies according to brand, but most devices allow for vital information to be included.
“The most basic information to include is allergies, blood type, next of kin, and medical history. If you are a diabetic, epileptic, or suffer from high or low blood pressure, add these under medical history,” said Vermaak.
“If you have a notes section, add your medical aid details or next of kin details. Do not add your home address or ID number.”
Details on how to add medical information to your smartphone is posted below.
iPhone’s Medical ID feature allows you to make medical information available to first responders.
To create a Medical ID:
- Open the Health App.
- Select “Medical ID” and tap “Edit”.
- Enter your medical information and emergency contact numbers.
- Turn on “Show When Locked”.
- Tap “Done” to save your changes.
Your medical information will now be available from your lock screen, with your Medical ID accessible after selecting the Emergency Call option from the lock screen.
iPhone users in the US can also sign up to be an organ donor from the Medical ID menu in the Health app.
Making your medical information available depends on which Android device you own.
If you own a Samsung smartphone, you can take the following steps:
- Open the Contacts app.
- Select your personal profile.
- Enter your medical information.
- Return to your contact list and select your emergency contact.
- Edit their profile and add them to the “ICE – Emergency Contacts Group”.
- Save your changes.
This will add an emergency contact and medical details to the Emergency Call menu – accessible from the lock screen.
Other Android devices may include support for medical information on the lock screen, and you can check your Contacts or Settings menus to access this.
Android users can also:
- Download a compatible third-party ICE app, which displays medical information.
- Set an ICE message as your default lock screen text.
- Use an image with your ICE message as your lock screen wallpaper.