I have written before about the importance of having health care directives. These documents allow you to appoint a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated.
Having paper copies of these documents works really well if you know you’re going to be hospitalized. You can just take them with you to the hospital and hand them to your physicians.
But what would happen if you are hospitalized as a result of an emergency when you are out of town and don’t have paper copies on hand? How will the hospital staff know that you actually have a medical power of attorney and directive in place, let alone who you’ve appointed as your agent.
The American Bar Association (ABA) just released a smartphone app called My Health Care Wishes that is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. There is a free version of the app, as well as a paid version that costs $3.99.
The app gives you the ability to store and share your health care directives and gives you immediate access to a PDF version of your documents anywhere at any time.
According to description of the app provided by the ABA, both the free app and the pro version include the following features:
- Grabs contact information from your contacts list.
- Shows or sends a summary of your health care wishes via text or email to health care providers.
- Allows import of advance directive document(s).
- Emails your advance directive document to loved ones and health care professionals and/or facilities.
- Carries key information on primary & secondary proxy, and primary care physician.
- Allows editing and updating documents as you age and your health status changes.
- Keeps track of document versions by date entered.
- Allows downloading free PDF wallet card.
- Includes a PDF summary worksheet for ease in collecting the information needed to customize a folder.
- Imports documents via email.
The Pro version also includes:
- Unlimited storage of documents and people profiles.
- Email stored documents to a health care provider.
- Store additional details about you and your loved ones: specialists, emergency contacts, insurance, and medical conditions.
- The Personal and Family Manager allows you to show the relationships between profiles you’ve stored.
- Click-to-call and click-to-email feature gives you an instant connection to those whose profiles you’ve stored.
- Syncing to your DropBox account to allow for easy importing and exporting of PDF documents.
I haven’t tried the app, but just downloaded the free version. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Note: Effective September 2016, the ABA will no longer be selling or supporting the My Health Care Wishes App. Click here for more information.