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American Bar Association introduces mobile app that stores health care advance directives

American Bar Association introduces mobile app that stores health care advance directives

By John Glynn

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2014 — My Health Care Wishes, a new mobile application from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging, lets users store and distribute health care advance directives such as their living will and health care proxy via their smartphone. The free “Lite” version of the app provides storage for one person’s information, while the advanced “Pro” version, available for $3.99, allows for storage of multiple profiles.

The ABA, particularly through its Commission on Law and Aging, has promoted health care advance planning and the use of advance directives for decades. Advance directives such as a health care power of attorney or living will legally authorize another person to make health care decisions for an individual, if the individual loses the ability to make decisions, and provide instructions on how decisions are to be made.

Recognizing that people are reluctant to give up control of such personal documents to a third-party, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging created My Health Care Wishes so that the individual’s smartphone itself becomes the registry.

The My Health Care Wishes app attempts to ensure that advance directives are easily accessible when they are actually needed. The app gives individuals and their family members the ability to store their own and each other’s advance directives, key health information and health care contacts on their Apple or Android smartphones. It also allows them to send advance directive documents directly to health care providers by email or Bluetooth connectivity.

Kerry Peck, a Chicago elder law attorney and member of the commission, sees many situations in which this kind of app would have made a difference. “Often our clients’ families are scattered around the county, and when a medical crisis arises, they struggle to find needed information. Having a parent’s advance directive and other medical information organized on your smart phone will make a huge difference.”

More information and a link to download the apps can be found at www.myhealthcarewishes.org.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

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