|Few things drive an emergency room staff quite as nuts as a patient who has, yes, carefully considered her preferences, designated a health care decision-maker should she become incapacitated, and documented all that information in an advance directive — which is sitting in a locked safe deposit box or stashed in an bureau drawer at home.|
A screen shot of the new smartphone app from the American Bar Association that is intended to help users save and transmit health care documents.
But as we’ve discussed before, that’s hardly an uncommon scenario. In fact, the president of the American Bar Association, Jim Silkenat, told me that until recently, his own advance directive wasn’t easily accessible.
“It was in a file here in my office” in Midtown Manhattan, he said. “My kids knew about it, but they had no idea where it was. Nobody had really focused on it.” Fortunately, since his children live in Scotland and Arizona, Mr. Silkenat hadn’t encountered an emergency requiring them to show up at a hospital with the document.
But enough people do find themselves in that quandary that the association’s Commission on Law and Aging has developed a smartphone app, My Health Care Wishes, that allows you to store your own advance directive or family members’ on your iPhone or Android phone. When you need them, the app lets you present such documents — and other health information and contacts — via email or...