Prescribing to mobile health apps

Healthcare in the mobile age is fast turning into a hot topic with the availability of numerous health and fitness apps, across various platforms like iOS, Android and BlackBerry.  There is an app to track down what you eat and count your calories, keep a tab on your exercise regime, check your BMI and heart rate, and much more. Turning your mobile app into your workout trainer or your food/exercise tracker is being widely accepted. But the question is how reliable are these apps when it comes to keeping a track of health conditions that need more immediate attention, like monitoring diabetes or high pressure.


Mashable recently revealed data from Float Mobile, after learning that 40 percent of doctors believe that using healthcare apps will reduce the number of visits to doctors. 88 percent doctors completely support patients keeping a watch on their health at home using mobile apps when it comes to watch out one's weight, blood sugar and for other vital signs. Even consumers would like to put their mobile apps to better use, according to the study. The healthcare apps category is becoming the third-fastest growing one, among iOS and Android users. Doctors have been widely using mobile devices for easy access to vast information, saving time on admin work and making faster decisions.


The mobile app market has seen a huge boost with the Android Play store giving neck-to-neck competition to the Apple App Store, followed by other players, such as BlackBerry, Nokia and Samsung, to name a few. To know how well the health mobile apps perceived in india, we spoke to renowned nutritionists about what they think about mobile health apps.


Do you think health apps are handy?

Do you think health apps are handy?


Venu Hirani, Nutritionist & Fitness Consultant and also the founder of Bodyworks says,”Till a few months back I did have my doubts about the acceptance of health related content / apps on mobile in India but the response that we have received to the fitness videos that I have had the opportunity to present with a leading service provider has overwhelmed me. We have over 15000 subscribers and counting. And very soon we will have more health related products launched. People today are more aware and are hungry for more authentic information which is related to us Indians.

Luke Coutinho,  Nutritionist and Fitness Consultant  and also the author of Eat Smart, Move More, Sleep Right says, “There are good apps and complicated ones,,i truly believe that the simpler you keep it the more user friendly it is,,health mobile apps if made well with much thought can actually help an individual to get healthy,,,i have a lot of clients who use such apps and swear by it,,they can motivate, inspire, help plan goals and give reports on performance.

Luke doesn’t mind suggesting apps to his clients and according to him some good apps, include Slimkicker,Mapmyfitness and calorietracker. He further adds, “Yes one should be mature to use them. Many people use them coz these apps link to twitter and FB and becomes more of a "showing off" platform for people...if used well and consistently it can provide results, it can be a great motivator and a timely reminder for tips and advice, it's like a tool that one can leverage to get better results, in health and fitness tracking of progress, improvement and consistency is key and a great app can help you achieve just that.

We think mobile apps have their own set of pros and cons. They would definitely encourage you to keep track of your food habits, weight issues and exercising. As the smartphone craze grips us further, patients will take more interest in keeping a check on their health, especially with the apps that serve as a journal to know how eating habits have been, how much you’ve walked or cycled and how much progress has the blood sugar levels shown over a month. On the other hand, there is always a slight possibility of misinterpreting information, while researching or possibility of misleading symptoms. This is when you may feel a physician or medical expert could guide you better.

We’ve listed out five helpful health apps   

CalorieCounter - Android, Blackberry, iOS
This calorie counter and diet tracker by MyFitnessPal is a stable and user friendly mobile application for smartphones. It is touted to be the best app for tracking calories with more than 1.1 million food database, inclusing entry for junk food and motivating its users to follow a disciplinary diet. It also helps make note of the exercise regime and tells you how many calories you have consumed to help shed off those extra kilos.

Healthcare mobile apps market on a rise

Healthcare mobile apps market on a rise


BMI Calculator - iOS
This is a free iOS app to help you calculate your BMI (Body mass index) to check if you underweight, overweight and obese. This app lets you calculate your BMI and you can keep a tab on the changes and alter your food and exercise regime, according to your existing BMI.
Instant Heart Rate Pro - Android, iOS
This app is capable of accurately monitoring the heart rate without the need for any external hardware. It helps optimize exercise and track the user’s progress. The accuracy of the app is constantly being tested by health coaches, nurses and doctors.

LoseIt - Android, iOS
Yes, it clearly states lose it and what it means is definitely not your mind. With simple, attractive and streamlined interface, the app has a comprehensive food and activities database. You can go ahead and even set-up recipes for complex foods. It is capable of racking al the essential nutrients that you consume and works with or without network connection.

EatRight 90 - iOS
EatRight 90 serves as a nutrition log for everyone trying to meet the needs of extreme fitness programs. You can log all days and also the ones you missed. There is a simple built-in guide that suggests serving sizes.


Image Credit: Getty Images

Published Date: Apr 09, 2012 04:30 pm | Updated Date: Apr 09, 2012 04:30 pm