In the past five years, the healthcare IT space has grown immensely. Between 2001 and 2013, the percentage of office-based physicians that have adopted EHR systems grew from just 18% to 78%. That number is only going to continue growing as providers achieve further Meaningful Use standards.
Where healthcare-related technologies are growing even faster is in the mobile health and fitness application space. There are now over 40,000 health and fitness apps available for iPhone and Android.
Growing even faster than the number of apps out there? The number of physicians that are now “prescribing” these apps to their patients.
Digitas Health’s 2013 study found that 90% of patients said they would use an app if their physician prescribed it. And 86% of physicians believe that mobile apps will be important for patient health management over the next 5 years, according to PwC Health Research Institute's most recent study.
Even the big names in technology have moved into the health and fitness mobile app space with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Microsoft Health all releasing new health monitoring apps in the past year.
When it comes to prescribing your patients apps to help them track fitness goals, weight loss, and monitor biometric feedback (among thousands of other things), where do you start? With over 40,000 to choose from, how do you choose the right ones?
We’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite mobile health apps for both iPhone and Android that will come in handy the next time a patient asks for mobile app recommendations.
Nike+ Training Club (iPhone-free, Android-free)
NTC is your own personal trainer that you can take with you anywhere you go. It provides you with over 100 workouts from personal trainers and athletes. Track progress and integrate with other Nike apps like Nike+ Running and Nike Fuel.
Couch-To-5K (iPhone-$1.99; Android-$1.99)
The perfect app to prescribe to the patient that wants to become more active, but may be a little apprehensive to start. Couch-To-5K allows you to choose from 4 personal trainers that motivate you using baby steps. You can listen to music through the in-app music player, hear audio cues to motivate you during your workout, and track your progress along the way.
Lumosity (iPhone-free, Android-free)
Lumosity is the ultimate brain workout. This app trains memory and recognition in a fun, noninvasive way. Prescribe using the app for 20 minutes a day to improve cognitive functions.
HealthTap (iPhone-free, Android-free)
This app takes healthcare technology to a whole new level. Easily consult with your own or one of several thousands doctors available on HealthTap. Get checklists to work towards daily goals, track progress, receive daily health tips and news. If you upgrade to their Prime version, you can even have live consults with real doctors. And you can even privately and securely share your health files with your doctor right on the app!
Drugs.com (iPhone-free, Android-free)
The easiest way to store your own medication information, as well as look up important drug facts, usage, check interactions, and identify pills. Never be confused about what’s in your medicine cabinet again!
Lose It! (iPhone-free, Android-free)
Lose It! Enables you to set a daily calorie budget, track your food intake and exercise, and keep you on the path toward achieving your weight loss goals. You can even build recipes and scan popular food items for nutritional information. A great way for your patients to stay organized and motivated to achieve weight loss and improve their overall health.
Instant Heart Rate (iPhone- free; Android-free)
With Instant Heart Rate, you can check your heart rate by simply placing your finger on your camera lens. Really! This amazing simple and accurate app is essential for every patient. Track your heart rate data over time and use this in conjunction with your other exercise apps.
This is a good guide to get you started prescribing health and fitness apps to your patients to promote patient engagement. The more involved patients are in their own health, the more productive their course of treatment is. Mobile health apps could also potentially reduce long-term healthcare costs, reduce rates of readmission, and improve the overall health of the population. Proactive care just got a whole lot easier.