Review of 2016

good-year-1911507_1920     2016 was a very exciting year for me.  I completed my MBA, took on a new role at my institution as Associate Chief Medical Officer and in February I launched this website, Digital Health and You.  This website has been an important outlet for me and I hope  has helped improve the landscape of medicine and digital health.
     This year the website had 11 digital health app reviews published.  These included apps for understanding your lab results, cognitive behavioral therapy, concussion prevention, zika virus and even to help monitor your caffeine intake.
     I am really looking forward to 2017.  We will be discussing EMR’s, PHR’s, more Profiles in Digital Health and of course 12 new Health App of the Month posts.  My readership waxes and wanes, as does my ability to publish often but creating and maintaining this website has truly been a joy.

Evidence of Digital Health Adoption by Patients

       A really exciting thing has been happening in my clinic the last few weeks.  In addition to holiday decorations and the rush year end refill requests, I have noticed an increase in the amount of times patients have talked to me about health apps.doctor-563428_1920
       The March Health App of the Month was Sworkit and I recommend it often.  Those who travel a lot for work or whose busy work schedule limits going to the gym can find good success in an app like Sworkit.  I am receiving good feedback on the impact of Sworkit.  During follow up clinic appointments with several patients over the last couple weeks they had followed my prescription of Sworkit and were using it regularly.  They all travelled extensively for work and found it was easy to have an intensive exercise session from the privacy of their hotel room.  For one patient is was really helping maintain good blood pressure control.
       In my clinic I usually have my diabetic patients come in for appointments a regular basis, around every 3 months.  I recommended to many the use of the MySugr Diabetes App.  Many are finding it a really intuitive and easy way to track their sugar and their insulin regimen.  The visual nature of the blog sugar graphs and the ability to export the data are features that patients appreciate and really use.  Especially when trying to help someone with uncontrolled high blood sugars, the more data points the better.  Since almost everyone has their phone on them at all times, it is easy to log every blood sugar taken, every dose of medication, calories and any hypoglycemic symptoms – and it is easy to look at in the clinic to make clinical decisions.  I have worked with patients to change insulin regimens while we both look at the MySugr App on their phone.
       Any intervention where a patient can see and feel the results can be more impactful and lead more permanent healthy habits.  It is clear that the Sworkit app and MySugr can have that kind of impact.  Physicians need to be more mindful of talking about digital health apps with their patients.  It’s clear that patients will listen.

December 2016 WebMD Mobile App

Title: WebMD Mobile App

What it is: A mobile medical reference app

webmd-front-page

Front Page of the WebMD Mobile App

What devices: Apple and Android products

Cost: free

Who should use it: Anyone who wants broad reliable medical information at their
fingertips

Why use it: There are numerous medical websites on the internet and if you are looking for medical information it can be hard to know where to start.  What is good information and what sources can be trusted?  The first place to start can be the WebMD mobile app.

The mobile app has many different features that make is a very useful first step to researching medical questions.

1 Symptom Checker – to guide you towards potential medical diagnosis based on symptoms you are experiencing

2 Reference of medical conditions – broad list of medical conditions with useful information for each condition, all presented in a format that is easy to understand and geared towards patient usewebmd-med

3 Drug reference for pharmaceutical information. – listing pertinent information about what it treats, what to look out for, what a specific medication interacts with other and what to do if you miss a dose

4 First Aid – Basic How-to for caring for injuries and medical conditions on your own and instructions for when to seek carewebmd-first-aid

5 Provider database – You can even search your area, or any area you might be traveling in, to look for physicians and hospitals.

The WebMD mobile app is a nice way to have reliable medical information at your fingertips.  The app is definitely geared for lay-person use.  This app not rigorous enough for physician use.  The Medscape mobile app may be better suited for that.

While the WebMD mobile app may not meet the needs of physicians in daily practice, it is a great useful reference for anyone looking to obtain quality medical information from a reputable source.