Storing Your Health Care Directives on Your Smart Phone? There's an App for That.

Storing Directives on a Smart Phone

More Americans than ever can now store information on smartphones and tablet devices. Whether engaging in online banking, using a mobile plane boarding pass, or creating work calendars shared in the cloud, the internet of things provides needed connectivity. Yet critical medical information and health care directives tend to remain in older storage formats such as paper files or on-site at a hospital or doctor’s office. The American Bar Association website displays and recommends an app called Mind Your Loved Ones (MYLO) that provides access for storing directives for healthcare planning 24/7.

Storing Directives for Easy Access

The app allows you to send information directly to health care providers, whether they be an insurance company, doctor, hospital, or trusted friend or family members, via email, text, fax, or print. Information is not stored in the cloud but locally on the user's tablet or smartphone for enhanced security. A mobile app like MYLO falls under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) scope because it handles personal health information (PHI). The information you want resides on your smartphone, and MYLO has no access to the user's profile beyond an email address and registered name.

Whether traveling for work, leisure, or living in a retirement community, you can securely store your and your family's health care advance directives, key medical information like prescriptions, physician contacts, medical notes, and insurance information. There is no need to hunt for paper files or sign onto a website to obtain the information, and you can create as many individual profiles on the app as you want. This immediate access to critical information allows your trusted agent to immediately answer difficult questions that an emergency room or other healthcare professionals ask, creating better health outcomes.

Storing Directives for Family Members

Because you can create an unlimited number of profiles, you can use MYLO to store information on your aging parents, yourself, spouse, siblings, children, and even friends. Each profile automatically generates reports that can be shared electronically with the desired recipient. Insurance information includes copies of both sides of insurance cards. Event notes, routine appointments, prescription changes, activities of daily living, and vital signs can all be maintained and measured over time. A dropbox is available to backup, share, and restore profiles, so even if you accidentally delete or damage a profile, it can be easily recreated. An annual subscription service to MYLO is less than ten dollars.

An App Specific for the Legal Pieces of Your Health Care Planning

Other apps provide a format to carry your medical history and records on your phone; however, these apps do not combine legal documents as part of the app. MYLO provides ways to track the legal side of medical information such as the medical power of attorney, advanced directives, and a HIPAA release, seamlessly in one app, which is a big plus when under duress to provide information to help yourself or a loved one.

Keeping all of this critical information current is easy by simply uploading new forms, medical information, and insurance data to the app. You will not have to guess which prescription information or legal document is most current as all data storage is by date. A medical doctor can even review previous to current medications to make assessments based on health responses to those prescription changes.

The MYLO app does not mean you have to give up your paperwork if you still like that hard copy in a file cabinet somewhere. Many older individuals like covering all bases with both the standard paper file format and the MYLO app. Time is precious when you or someone you love is experiencing an adverse health event. Quick and easy access to reliable health documentation can help drive the best possible outcome for the situation at hand.

The App Supplements, But Doesn't Replace, Emergency Access

For clients who engage in all but the most basic estate planning, McCreary Law Office enrolls clients with a company called Legal Directives. Your medical power of attorney / health care surrogate designation; your advance directive / living will; your HIPAA release; key medical information; and emergency medical contacts are all stored by Legal Directives electronically. You have a card in your wallet (and a sticker for your drivers license) so that in an emergency, first responders or ER staff are able to call Legal Directives to obtain those key planning items. If you are storing directives only on your smart phone, then it won't be accessible if you are unconscious. Thus, McCreary Law office recommends both tools for keeping your plan available and usable.

If you or a loved one do not yet have health care directives, I can help. It’s important to have proper legal advice on what options to choose, and to make sure the document fully represents your wishes. If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Please contact McCreary Law Office or call the Jacksonville, FL office at 904-425-9046 or the Houston, TX office at 713-568-8600.

Attorney Jana McCreary

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Houston Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Jana R. McCreary has been an attorney for over eighteen years, a career move she made after working for over a decade with adults and children with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Graduatin… Read More

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