There are over 1 million health and wellness apps available from the Apple and Google app stores, with more added daily. With so many health-related apps to choose from, how do you decide which apps you might want to use and how can they improve your health?
First, consider the type of app you are looking for. In general, you can divide the health-related apps into four general categories: general health and wellness apps, apps that help manage your general health or a specific chronic condition, Telehealth Telemedicine applications, and the latest category, digital therapy applications, which have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, are used to treat specific conditions.
Daniel Kraft, MD, founder and president of Exponential Medicine, a program that explores development technologies and their potential in medicine and Healthcare. “And now we have an explosion of new tools to help measure and improve our healthy behaviors. The first Fitbit was only launched in 2009, and wearables are now ubiquitous and can measure nearly every aspect of our activity. PhysiologyAnd even Psychological health. “
Health and wellness apps
The wide range of public health and wellness apps available include nutritional apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal that help you track your food and Playing sports Habits and Weight lossAnd the Fitness Apps like Strava, Fitplan, and Aaptiv, asleep Trackers like Sleep Cycle and mental health apps like Calm, Headspace, and Happify.
“As wearables have evolved to become popular with most people, many health apps like these can communicate with your wearables,” Healthcare Future scientist Raphael Grossman, MD, a surgeon at Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire who performed the first Google Glass surgery. “The data from these third-party apps can be seamlessly integrated into Apple Health Kit or Google Fit, to provide you with a complete report on your health and activity, all in one place.”
Health management applications
These apps usually offer public health management tools such as Medicines Trackers and reminders, in addition to disease-specific functions such as the blood Tracking glucose for people with hypertension diabetic Or report bleeding events to infected people Hemophilia. Many of these apps can also be set up to share information directly with your doctor.
If you are looking for an app to help you manage a specific chronic condition, start by asking the doctor who is treating you for that condition. Another good source of recommendations would be with national organizations that advocate for people with your condition. For example, My MS Manager is a free mobile app created by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) that allows users to track Symptoms of MSCreate reports for medical professionals and get medication reminders.
If you receive care in a large hospital or medical center, they may have one or more apps of their own that help you manage your visits, prescriptions, and electronic health record. many health insurance The companies also offer apps for patients enrolled in one of their plans that allow them to manage their health benefits with a few simple clicks and strokes, and even incentivize healthy behavior by offering rewards like gift cards.
Many of these apps can also be combined with wearable technologies like Fitbit or Apple Watch, or with other home digital health devices like blood pressure Smart cuffs, thermometers and smart scales. “Apps are now mixed with home diagnostic platforms,” says Kraft. This is partly due to the need for more remote healthcare visits during a visit to COVID, people are becoming more comfortable using things like blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeters. The great value is helping you to intelligently manage disease processes, especially chronic ones. “
Telehealth and telemedicine applications
Apps like Doctor on Demand, Teladoc, GoodRx Care, Talkspace and Zocdoc can connect you directly with a doctor for a virtual appointment or help you search for and book local healthcare providers for personal visits. More and more hospitals and health systems, such as Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, are also incorporating the ability to participate in virtual visits into their own applications.
“The pandemic Significantly speeding up the use of virtual visits, and I don’t think we’ll ever return to the pre-pandemic levels of personal healthcare visits, where patients and doctors discover comfort and compelling efficacy, ”says Kraft.” Even before applying Zoom or virtual FaceTime with doctors, we had chatbots. Smarter things can help identify symptoms and sort problems through apps like these effectively and at a lower cost. “
Digital therapy applications
In 2017, the FDA approved the first batch of new digital therapies to treat disease, a program called reSET from Pear Therapeutics, which uses mobile assessments and interventions to treat substance use disorders. Over 200 other people have followed him so far, including BlueStar, a personal training app that has been discovered to lower blood sugar levels for adults living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetesAnd Kaya Health, A. Physical therapy The application that was shown in Clinical trials To reduce dramatically PainAnd the AnxietyAnd the Stress, And the depression In people with musculoskeletal pain.
“We are now at a time when hardware and software have evolved into an ecosystem, with apps, smartphones, wearables, and AI algorithms,” Grossman says. “This gives us better answers and more personalized recommendations to changes in behavior that make sense from a medical point of view and can lead to real improvements in health.”
Kraft expects that soon, your doctor may prescribe an application in place of or in addition to a new drug or other type of treatment. “It’s a golden age for these digital solutions,” he says. There are many options available to help you improve your physical and mental health, detect illnesses before they become major, or manage complex illnesses that range from Pneumonia to cancer. “