6 Health Tech Smartphone Apps to Keep You Healthy
By Megy Karydes
Access to accurate health information has become as easy as making a few swipes on your Smartphone. Want to know what medicine your child has allergies to? There’s an app for that. Or how to effectively monitor your glucose levels, lose weight, stop smoking? There’s an app for those, too. While there are thousands of medical or health-related apps to cater to any one specific need, we reviewed six we thought you should know about because they just might make your life easier and healthier.*
According to the app’s description, LowRX claims to have saved approximately 1,200 individual users over $128,290. Recommended to Chicago Health by a nurse who uses it religiously herself, this app allows you to save up to 75 percent in discount pharmacy prescriptions, locate your nearest pharmacy and estimate the prescription price as well as identify any coupons for drugs. It does not provide prescription price comparisons.
Available for: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 6.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. In development for Android users
Have a pressing medical question and want access to over 36,000 U.S.-based physicians in 128 specialties? HealthTap often generates several responses within minutes by volunteer doctors on topics ranging from medications available for those with bipolar disorder to whether medical marijuana helps with diabetic neuropathy. Other doctors weigh in by liking answers provided by their colleagues. If you happen to be seeking a new physician, the app allows you to search from more than 1.2 million doctors and schedule a time to see them in person right from the app.
Available for: iPhone, iPod touch 3rd through 5th generations and the iPad with iOS 6.0 or later; Android
The main WebMD app allows users to research conditions, check symptoms (which is as easy as tapping a part of the body on your screen) and review prescription drug side effects, interactions with other products and overdose symptoms. Forgot what pill is in your medicine cabinet? This app can help you identify pills based on the shape, color and imprint.
Available for: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad with iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5; Android and Kindle Fire
We’ve seen this app work for so many of our friends hoping to lose weight that it’s hard to believe it’s still a free app. Begin by entering some personal information such as your height, your starting weight and desired end weight. The app also gives you your daily calorie range. When used correctly (and this is key—no cheating allowed), MyFitnessPal tracks your caloric intake based on the food diary you keep, letting you know where you are and how many calories you have left to enjoy that day. It has a vast database of more than one million food and drink items (yes, it’s very likely that your favorite coffee, with cream and sugar, are among the options) so there are no excuses for you not to document everything you put in your mouth. The more you exercise, the more calories you’re allowed. The hardest part will be remembering to record it all. In the interest of being social, this app includes a discussion forum to ask questions of those who have been through similar experiences.
Available for: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phones
Need or want access to your child’s healthcare records and immunizations at your fingertips? MotherKnows obtains health records from your doctor and adds them to an account for each child. This secure app makes it easy to access their medical records in case of an emergency, or to share with caretakers and to fill out medical forms for school and sports activities. Pricing structure varies by number of children and services.
Available for: iPhone; in development for Android users
For people with diabetes, controlling their blood glucose levels is critical. Keeping a logbook is usually one way to track their readings, carb intake and insulin dosage—when they remember to do it. And even then, they have to log it correctly. The Glooko app eliminates errors from manual entries because it downloads readings from the meter to your iPhone through the use of the Glooko MeterSync Cable. The app also features a food database with nutritional information, which makes logging carb values faster and easier, and users can share this information with their healthcare provider to aid in long-term treatment.
Available for: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad with iOS 5.0 or later