By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Apple® corporation and Donate Life America have announced that, for the first time ever, iPhone® users will be able to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor right from the Health app.
The new feature will be part of iOS 10, the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, scheduled to launch this fall.
Through a simple sign up process, iPhone users can easily become nationally-registered donors. All registrations submitted from iPhone are sent directly to the National Donate Life Registry managed by Donate Life America.
Apple CEO Tim Cook says he hopes the new software will help ease a longstanding donor shortage. He told The Associated Press that the problem hit home when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endured an “excruciating” wait for a liver transplant.
Jobs did receive a liver transplant in 2009. He died in October 2011 at age 56 after a long battle with cancer.
“On average, one person dies every hour in the United States waiting for an organ transplant because the demand for lifesaving transplants far exceeds the available supply of organs — and one donor can save as many as eight lives,” said David Fleming, President & CEO of Donate Life America.
“By working with Apple to bring the National Donate Life Registry to the Health app on iPhone, we’re making it easier for people to find out about organ, eye and tissue donation and quickly register,” Fleming added.
Over 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant. In addition, every 10 minutes, a new individual is added to the national transplant waiting list.
“LifeShare is very excited to learn about this partnership. Allowing people to register as Organ Donors from their iPhone is a huge step that will give us the opportunity to save more lives,” said Jeff Orlowski, President and CEO of LifeShare.
LifeShare, a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO), works closely with five transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in Oklahoma to facilitate donation.
“Apple’s mission has always been to create products that transform people’s lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer. “With the updated Health app, we’re providing education and awareness about organ donation and making it easier than ever to register. It’s a simple process that takes just a few seconds and could help save up to eight lives.
In the absence of donor registration, families are left to make the decision about donation in what is often the worst moment of their lives, the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.
The Health app on iPhone provides a complete view of a person’s health and fitness data all in one place. The app includes Medical ID, which makes critical health information available in case of emergency to first responders and is accessible from the iPhone lock screen.
Medical ID can also display categories like medical conditions, allergies, medications, blood type, and emergency contacts.
A public beta program will be available to iOS users this month at beta.apple.com.
Apple has made big strides with new hardware and software such as the Apple Watch, ResearchKit and CareKit, which help people take a more active role in their health.
For example, the EpiWatch app can use the Apple Watch to measure the duration and severity of an epileptic seizure.