A Text a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

Dec 12, 2011 5:25pm

Using wireless technology to improve health outcomes is the focus for the annual mHealth summit, which took place last week at National Harbor in Washington, D.C.  With more than 12,000 health-related apps in the iTunes store, it can be hard to know which ones to download, and which ones to pass on. Not to mention there are many other ways to use your phone — smart or not — to help you in your quest for good health.

As health management moves from files and folders, to electronic medical records and into the memories of smart phones, what are some of the (free) smart phone apps and mobile services that can help you manage your health

 iTriage

With more than 11,000 ratings and an average rating of four stars (4.5 on newest version), it is easy to see why iTriage is a one-stop health app. Created by two ER doctors in 2008, this app can not only tell you what’s wrong with you but where to go for treatment. The application uses a national listing of ERs and medical providers to provide the closest location, as well as ER wait times. And in the unlikely event that you don’t have your phone, you can log in to the app   from your computer, too.

 

Text4baby

It may be hard to believe, but not everyone has a smart phone (even if smart phones accounted for 50 percent of all phone sales last year). That is why Text4Baby uses free text messaging to educate and inform moms to be and new moms moms about how to give new babies the “best possible start in life.”

What is really cool about this service is that it times the messages to yourdue date or your baby’s birthday.  All you need to do is to text the word “Baby”  (or “Bebe” for Spanish) to the number 511411 from your cell phone.

 Smokefree TXT

Smokefree TXT is another app that uses free 24/7 text messages to help smokers quit the habit. Although the program was designed for teenagers (according to Pew, 72 percent  of all teens are text-messagers), anyone can use it. The service sends encouraging messages about quitting. You can also text  back withkeywords like “crave” or “slip” to let the app  know what kind of day you are having.

Also, good news for the smart phone users, an app called QuitStart is currently in development and is set to launch in early January.

 LoseIt 

Losing weight and keeping tabs on your caloric intake can be not only hard  but discouraging. Enter LoseIt, whose website touts that “86 percent of their users have lost weight.”

LoseIt lets you track what you have had to eat each day, as well as how many calories the food counted toward your “daily calorie budget.”  Not only can you track your progress from your smart phone  but also your computer.

 Rxmind Me

Ever had trouble remembering which pill to take when? With so many medications out there, all with different dosages and time intervals, it’s no wonder many people are not in compliance with their doctors advice. Well, now with apps like Rxmind Me (and believe me there are many more) that faulty memory is no excuse. Simply download the free app, insert your medications, dosages and other important information and Rxmind Me will alert you when it is time to pop that pill. You can even add pills you take randomly so you can check on drug interactions with your physician or pharmacist. And believe me, when you go for your next doctor’s appointment, your doctor  will thank you for having all your medications listed.

 

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