Smartphones, Smart Health, and Smart Benefits

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February 12, 2012

One of the best things about owning a smartphone is access to the millions of mobile applications (apps) that are available--many at no cost. An app is a piece of software that can run on your phone, on the Internet, on your computer, or other electronic device. Some of the most popular apps are iPhone apps from the Apple iTunes App Store; however, there are many apps for other types of phones, including Android apps. There are dictionary apps for looking up the meaning of words; there are navigation apps to help you find your way on and off the road; and there are medical and health apps that you and your doctor can use to monitor, and possibly improve, your well-being. Medical and health apps have the potential to improve the timeliness and accuracy of medical care and improve your overall health.

Doctors and other health care professionals use medical apps to increase their knowledge and improve on their work. There are medical apps to access patient records, monitor medical devices, view medical imaging, monitor maternity ward vitals in real time, write prescriptions, and much more. For example, the iRadiology app allows doctors to practice their film, CT, and MRI reading skills. The Epocrates Rx app helps in identifying pills and their properties, reducing the chance of making medical errors.

Health apps are made for everyone. There are health apps to track calories (Calorie Counter), and glucose levels (Diabetes Buddy), and provide exercise routines (Workouts) and nutrition information (Nutrition Menu), just to name a few. These apps encourage you to take control of your health and improve it. For example, the Fooducate app allows you to use your iPhone to scan food products at the grocery store to obtain nutrition information and then provide you with healthy alternatives.

Medical and health apps are smart benefits that are worth your attention. Consider downloading a few health apps for you and your family. It is easy.

  1. Log on to the app store on your phone, tablet or computer and type in any health or medical related word you want. For example, type in the word dental or the word diabetes to see a list of all the available dental and diabetes related apps

  2. Ask your doctor what medical apps he or she is using and what apps they recommend you use to address your and your family's health issues

  3. Ask your Human Resources department to include a list of health apps on their wellness site and ask if they would consider purchasing apps for employees as part of their wellness incentives program (similar to a subsidized gym membership, but a lot less expensive)

  4. Create you own health and wellness budget and fund it with your spare change

Mobile apps are here to stay and we all have our favorite types of apps. Some of us love the game apps like Angry Birds; others prefer productivity apps like Pages and Numbers; and an increasing number of us just cannot get enough of the health and wellness apps like Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker. Health and wellness apps are a smart and inexpensive way to improve your health and possibly save on benefits costs.
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