Apple will give US users the ability to sign up as organ donors on their iPhones as part of its upcoming iOS 10 update.
The chief executive, Tim Cook, says he hopes the easy sign-up button in the Health app will help ease a longstanding donor shortage in the US.
He said that the problem hit home when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endured an “excruciating” wait for a liver transplant in 2009. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in October 2011, aged 56.
Apple is adding the option to enroll in the US national donor registry by tapping a button within the iPhone’s Health app, which can be used to manage a variety of health and fitness data. The software will come to all US-based iPhones when the company updates its mobile operating system this autumn.
The move follows action by the US government to attempt to reduce long waiting lists for organ transplants, in which someone is added to the list every 10 minutes and 22 people die while waiting for life-saving transplants every day.
One initiative will see greater automation in the donor and matching service, and increased connectivity with transplant centres, which it is hoped will speed up the matching process to get donor organs to more patients in less time. Almost $200m (£150m) has also been allocated for research into next-generation manufacturing techniques for tissue creation and repair, which could result in organ replacement.
Apple is not the only technology company that has pledged to aid in driving organ donor registration. Facebook, Google and Twitter have also pledged support to develop new tools and public advocacy campaigns.
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