iOS 10’s Health app will let US users sign up as organ, eye and tissue donors

iOS 8 (Health, teaser 001)

Apple announced Tuesday that it will add an organ donor registration option to the stock Health app in iOS 10. People in the United States will be able to use a built-in option in the Health app when iOS 10 launches for public consumption this fall to register themselves as organ, eye and tissue donors.

CEO Tim Cook told the Associated Press that the feature should help ease a longstanding donor shortage, reminding the public that the problem hit home when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endured an “excruciating” wait for a liver transplant in 2009.

“Watching and seeing him every day, waiting and not knowing—it stuck with me and left an impression that I’ll never forget,” Cook told The Associated Press. Cook even wanted to donate part of his own liver, but Jobs refused.

Cook hopes the new option will bring “a substantial increase” in registrations that should help “save lives and save people from that excruciating wait and wondering what’s going to happen.” Each organ donor can save as many as eight lives and heal many more “through the gifts of tissue and eye donation,” said Apple.

“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,” reads Apple’s press release.

Created in partnership with Donate Life America, the simple sign-up process will permit iPhone users to learn more about becoming an organ donor and take action with just a few taps. All registrations submitted from iPhone are sent directly to the National Donate Life Registry, itself managed by Donate Life America.

Various medical groups can search the national registry, as well as individual state registries, to confirm whether a recently dead person had agreed to donate organs.

In addition, the fact that a user has registered as an organ donor is highlighted on an optional Medical ID screen when the phone is locked.

More than 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant, while on average 22 die each day without receiving one. In other words, nearly one person dies every hour in the United States waiting for an organ transplant because the demand for life-saving transplants far exceeds the available supply of organs. Every ten minutes, a new individual is added to the national transplant waiting list.

Is this latest Apple move going to encourage you to register as an organ donor through the Health app, do you think?

Source: Apple, The Associated Press