With the launch of the iPhone 6 earlier this fall, Apple also introduced a revamped operating system, iOS 8, and among the new features was the new Health app. The primary function of the new app is to gather health-related data generated by other apps, providing a central dashboard where a variety of different information can be correlated in the same view. Depending on your country’s storefront in the App Store, you can keep track of such things as your fitness performance and sleep patterns, and vitals such as blood pressure, weight and resting heart rate all in one place.
Monitoring your health stats and fitness is certainly useful for scuba divers. Knowing our physical state can help us determine the level of strain we can or should accept during a dive, and can make us aware of any needed lifestyle changes before they manifest as actual problems. Serious, but not critical, health concerns on dry land can be just that —possibly even fatal — underwater. A dizzy spell resulting in a blackout will mean you end up the ER on dry land, but fainting underwater can be fatal. This is another reason scuba divers are urged to have regular physical checkups.
One interesting, yet somewhat overlooked, feature of the app is the emergency info section, called Medical ID. Essentially a medical emergency ID, similar to the ones you can put in your wallet or wear on your wrist, this feature is available even while the phone is locked. This allows emergency responders to check for allergies and other important information on a victim’s phone.
I added my name and birthdate to my medical ID, as this can help a responder identify me even if I’m unconscious. I don’t always bring my wallet with me on a dive day, but I do always bring my phone. I’ve also added my height and weight, as this is important information for some medicine dosages, and ensures the responder doesn’t have to guess. My blood type goes in there as well.
I’ve also added a few family members and friends as emergency contacts, as well as my doctor. I don’t use any prescription medicine, and have no allergies of note, but if you do, make sure and input that, too.
Then, under “medical conditions,” I’ve put down the following text:
“I’m a scuba diver. If you suspect I may have been in a scuba-diving related accident, please contact Divers Alert Network (DAN) for assistance.”
I’ve also added DAN’s phone number to my list of emergency contacts, which a responder can access without unlocking the phone. This, along with the above text, will alert a responder to reach out to DAN for treatment information, should they have any doubts about your accident.
During scuba courses, particularly rescue courses, I urge iPhone owners to make use of this app, and to remember to check a victim’s phone if they can during an emergency situation, whether scuba diving-related or not.
If you’re an iPhone user, or have a phone with similar functions, take advantage of this little app, even if you don’t use all the features (I don’t). Fill out the Medical ID to give responders the best chance of getting you the help you need.