Use Those Medical Apps Wisely
If you go to the Apple iPhone store and type in “Medical Apps,” a rather daunting listappears. The use of medical mobile apps for consumers and professionals both are growing rapidly. But is this a good thing, or should the patient be wary of them? According to a recent article on the website “Modern HealthCare,” the answer is not as simple as a mere “yes” or “no.” If you are interested in medical apps to assist you with your general health, some good ones do exist. Through researching and asking yourself some preliminary questions, medical apps can be very beneficial: and useful.
Questions To Consider
- Is the app meant for the patient or medical professional? Chances are the average patient isn’t interested in buying the 22nd edition of Taber’s Medical Dictionary for a formidable $39.99. I’m sure this is a valuable resource for the medical student, but perhaps it’s an app you can skip. This is a fairly obvious example, of course, but the point is: make sure you’re looking for apps intended for your sake.
- What is the app claiming to do? This one is important. Be careful of apps that claim to help you diagnose any symptoms, or apps where you can, for a minimal fee, be consulted by an online physician It’s important to never substitute an online consultation or a self-diagnosis for a physical exam; always get checked out in person.
- Will you use the app? Tons of medical apps are free, but some aren’t. Try to best decide which ones you will use, especially if they cost money, and which you won’t. We all may have weight loss goals, but will you really USE a calorie-counter app? Maybe: maybe not.
- Have you researched the app? Not all apps are equal, of course, and some are downright inaccurate or buggy. For example, a federal agency pursued and reached settlements with marketers of the mobile apps Mole Detective and MelApp, “for deceptively claiming their mobile apps could detect symptoms of melanoma even in its early stages” which then proved to be false. There are a fair amount of websites out there that rate and list medical apps for patients. All you have to do is type in “Top 10 Medical/Healthcare Apps” and look for a website that isn’t sponsored, and seems reputable.
- What are you looking for? Medicine tracker? General Medical Information? A Health app for workouts? One that charts your medical history? You get the picture. Peruse and find those best suited for you.
After your preliminary research, then, and if you find an app that seems both useful and approved by your physician, It’s time to do some virtual shopping! Happy Apping for your health!
Medical App Recommendations
**Note: all apps below are linked to the iPhone app, but most can be found on Android as well**
- Bones, Joints & Muscles – Free app exploring the human muscle anatomy and physiology body facts. Could be fun for the whole family!
- Chronic Pain Tracker – Records your pain history with 19 unique health categories, reviews a summary report with your doctor, and can export PDFs.
- Doximity – Quoted as possessing the largest medical professional network in the US, with over 50% of physicians as members. Note: Doximity is designed exclusively for healthcare professionals.
- Epocrates – Voted #1 healthcare reference app among U.S. physicians, Epocrates is consistently in multiple “Top Ten” medical apps lists. A must have.
- iPharmacy – Handy drug guide and pill identifier, as well as finding the lowest price for your Rx.
- Medisafe – Free app that facilitates in keeping track of when to take your medicine.
- myChart – Helps manage your health information and communicate with your doctor on your mobile devices, including Apple Watch.
- NEJM – The New England Journal of Medicine. One of the most respected Medical Journals out there, NEJM has articles on such topics as the latest medical research findings, review articles, and editorial opinions on a wide variety of topics
- Pain Guide: Pain Management Quick Reference – This is a free medical resource intended for medical students and residents, though may be helpful for those dealing with chronic pain. Pain Guide gives you quick and easy access to pain management information, pain syndromes, and medications, among other features.
- The Fibromyalgia Magazine – A free 28 page digest of the “best of” from the last 12 months of issues.
- Mobile Medical Apps Are Gaining Support, but Many Lack Clinical Evidence’, November 28, 2015, accessed March 21, 2016, http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20151128/MAGAZINE/311289981.
- Medical – App Store Downloads on iTunes’, 2016, accessed March 21, 2016, https://itunes.apple.com/us/genre/ios-medical/id6020?mt=8.