Iris—Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you wonder about functionality or data security, you’ll find answers here.

Does Iris replace 911?

NO. Iris is not and should never be a replacement for emergency service professionals. Iris’ purpose is to inform your loved ones in the event that you are at the hospital and unable to inform them yourself. In additon, Iris will provide medical professionals at the ER with a digital health card via your lock screen with all of your necessary health info while they wait for your loved one to contact them or arrive. In the event of an emergency, you should always call 911.

What happens if I’m visiting someone at a hospital and Iris detects me there?

We know that many folks using Iris frequent hospitals for checkups, to visit a loved one or because it’s a place of employment. Once Iris detects you at the hospital, first confirm that you’re okay. From there, we recommend you use the Mute Functionality to tell Iris to mute that hospital. You can pick the duration, and Iris will follow up the day before to let you know the Mute is going to be lifted—if ever. Yes, ‘Indefinitely’ is an option, but we don’t recommend it.

Will it ever send false-positive alerts to my contacts?

We worked very hard as a team and even re-wrote our entire code to ensure the stability of the platform for you. Does this mean technology will never fail? No. We never want to lead you to believe hiccups will not occur, but we’re confident that the occurrence will be infrequent, if ever.

Outside of our control, something else that can cause a false positive is being in a major city. Iris has what we call ‘geofences’ set up around every hospital in order to tell our system it is a hospital and in turn can easily notice when you’re at one. Sometimes in large cities your cell phone service can’t properly provide accurate location, so it thinks you’re across the street at a Starbucks rather than the hospital.

We’re using very advanced location and geofence technology and we don’t anticipate these false-positives will occur often, if at all. However, a few must in order for us to make the platform smarter and to learn from it. In the event that it happens to you, please reach out to us at

Can my emergency contacts add me as their EC?

Yes! In fact, they should. We’ve found the chances of someone adding you back if you added them are high because they’re often mutual health proxies, relatives, or friends.

What location data does Iris track?

Iris does not continually track every location/step you take. We only notice a location change whenever there is a cell tower change. This allows us to scan the area for hospitals and log it, enabling us to accurately detect you there in the event of an emergency.

What information of a user is stored on the Iris server?

The information we store on our server is your: email, name, and photo if you choose to upload one.

Does Iris have HIPAA compliancy?

Nope, not just yet.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically.

We currently do not send or allow medical professionals to download and electronically share or print your information on your health card. However, due to and in preparation for the direction of the product and its next features, one of our next steps is to become HIPAA compliant.

How does Iris know I’m at the hospital?

Our team has a database of every hospital within each city we launch in. That database has what we call geofences [essentially digital fences] that allow us to see when a user has crossed it. This goes hand in hand with our location tracking. Like we mentioned above, we don’t track every location of yours but rather look for cell tower changes (you moving into a completely different area) and scan the area for hospitals. So when we see that your device is within the digital fence, we start the process of reaching out to ask if you’re okay.

Does Iris work if I have no cell service?

Unfortunately, no. That’s something we’re looking into heavily as we speak. As of right now, Iris cannot function without any form of data or cell service—which is necessary to detect you at the hospital, communicate with you and know to inform your loved ones. If your cell service kicks back in at any point within the hospital, however, Iris will still detect you are there.

Don’t a lot of hospitals have bad service?

Yes, the service is typically not the best in certain areas of hospitals, but the strength all depends on your cell phone provider and city. We’ve found after visiting a number of hospitals around the world, that the waiting room and areas like radiology are where the service is the weakest. However, the ER itself resumes as ‘normal’—as in, normally not amazing, but certainly not poor. In the event of a critical moment where Iris is necessary, you’ll more than likely be taken right to the ER—and quite quickly at that—where your cell phone and Iris will get the job done.

Does Iris work if my phone breaks in an emergency situation?

Maybe. Define break? A phone can have shattered glass and be chipped in some areas, but is still functioning. So long as the phone can connect to your data, Iris will get the job done. If the emergency situation caused your phone to break, odds are likely you need your loved ones, so once Iris is able to detect you at the hospital, your emergency contacts will be informed—even if you didn’t reply to Iris’s push notification asking if you’re okay. At the end of the day, that’s the purpose of Iris—to inform your loved ones in the critical moment when you’re unable to yourself.

In the same token though, it’s important to note that if your screen is shattered or broken in any way, Iris will still surface your digital health card on the lockscreen, but the chances are low that a medical professional will be able to swipe to view it. So long as the screen is visible though and the phone at its core is fully functioning, Iris will work. But it should be understood that it may not work as accurately as usual. You never know what actually is broken inside the phone.

Can medical professionals and others get into my phone through the lock screen from my digital health card?

As of right now, through the iOS system, that is not possible. Your digital health card lives in the Wallet app. The two sole reasons we did this was to (1) Ensure quick and easy access to your card, as it is surfaced on your lock screen as soon as we confirm you are at the hospital in a critical moment. (2) Security with cards in Wallet can only be accessed via the lockscreen and ensure content can be viewed without needing to access the phone itself. Because of these reasons, we found it to be a perfect match when it comes to aiding your and keeping your data safe.

How much does Iris cost?

Iris is free. Though we are exploring different opportunities for paid plans and monetization in general, the hospital detection and what you currently have access to will always be free.

Will Iris spam me with text messages?

Never. The only time Iris will reach out [to anyone] via SMS is if you are an emergency contact and are being informed that your loved one is in a critical moment or to inform you that you were added as an Emergency Contact by someone.