iPhones To Include Organ Donor Option

John Lister's picture

Apple is to make it easy for iPhone users to sign up as organ donors. The move is designed to recruit people who are OK with the idea of organ donation, but don't get round to filling out the necessary paperwork.

The drive will involve the Health app in the forthcoming version 10 of the iPhone operating system. The app lets users gather together fitness and health information and already includes the option to store medical information such that it's accessible from the lock screen. That's meant to allow first responders to immediately get potentially vital information about a patient even if they are unconscious.

The update will include an easy sign-up option for organ donation, which means the user can simply use the information Apple already knows about them to sign up "with just a few taps" rather than fill out forms. There will also be an information screen explaining how organ donation works. (Source: apple.com)

App Link Designed To Motivate Donors

Users who sign up this way will be added to the National Donate Life Registry. While it's already possible to easily sign up to the registry through its website, Apple hopes the iPhone move will prompt people who haven't got around to visiting the site.

According to Donate Life America, which administers the register, 120,000 people in the US are already on the waiting list; on average, a new patient joins the list ever 10 minutes. It says that a single organ donor can potentially save eight lives after their death, as well as restoring sight through eye donation and improving lives through tissue donation.

While Apple hasn't specifically mentioned this, it's arguable that users of the Health app may be more likely to be in good physical condition and take regular exercise, increasing the chances that their organs are in peak condition.

Apple's Move Follows Dating App Campaign

Apple isn't the first tech company to promote organ donation. Dating app Tinder ran a campaign in which celebrities and sports stars in the UK were added to the list of profiles as if they were looking for a date.

Users who then swiped right to show their interest in dating the celebrity were greeted with a message reading "If only it was that easy for those in need of a life saving organ to find a match," and then given a link to sign up to a donor register. (Source: campaignlive.co.uk)

What's Your Opinion?

Is Apple right to add this feature? Do you think it will be successful? Does the drive have any privacy implications?

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Dennis Faas's picture

The organ donation option within the iPhone is a great idea and I'm sure it will dramatically increase the number of possible donors on the national registry. The one thing that strikes me odd, however, is the idea of first responders going through the phone looking for information in the first place. Of course the rest of the phone will remain locked, but this also reminds me of the story where police wanted access to a suspect's phone. If more app developers make information accessible through the lock screen, this may set a precedent where it's "OK" for anyone to access your phone looking for "information".

Chief's picture

My droid gives up all the information necessary: my name and emergency contact list.
1) there is no excuse not connecting me to my phone
2) there is nothing on my phone that is any of your business and that is why it is LOCKED.