July 2017 5 Minute Yoga

Title: 5 minute Yoga
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What it is: A mobile app that provides guided yoga poses
What devices: Android and Apple devices
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
Who should use it: Anyone looking to add yoga to their daily routine
Why use it: Performing Yoga on a regular basis has several benefits to ones physical and mental health.  Yoga can improve fitness, flexibility and strength while also relieving stress and improving mood.
       As a physician I often recommend that my patients take a break at work, however brief.  5 Minute Yoga is the perfect app for respite at
 work.  The is designed to be provide guided instructions, both with a cartoon like

Pose

figure that demonstrates the pose and a written description of the pose.
       There are 5 poses to perform each session.  The app recommends using it once daily but could be used multiple times throughout the day.  It is very easy to use anywhere you feel comfortable doing yoga.
       For a small fee, you can have access to more features.  The upgraded features include a broader range of yoga poses, a remainder feature and the ability to add your own music to personalize your workout.
       Overall, 5 Minute Yoga is an easy to use, free app to provide a quick and relaxing workout during a busy day.

May 2017 CardioVisual

Title: CardioVisualfront page
What it is: A mobile app that provides educational videos on cardiovascular topics
What devices: Apple and Android devices
Cost: Free
Who should use it: Physicians, especially Cardiologists, as well as patients
Why use it: One of the most important aspects of a physicians job is to educate.  Physicians must be able to communicate important concepts about disease process and medical procedures to their patients.  The demands placed on every physicians time sometimes makes it difficult to give a patient all the information they would like to.
       For physicians dealing with cardiovascular issues, CardioVisual can provide some much needed help.  CardioVisual is a mobile app that has on demand education videos on many health topics.  The app mostly focuses on the field of cardiology but also has some general health topics like guides to exercise and nutrition.first page
       The topics are broken down into categories: general Cardiac, Electrophysiology,
Structural issues and Peripheral Vascular problems.  Each category includes videos on specific conditions, treatment options and specific devices.
       This type of app could be used in a clinic setting to foster discussion on a new diagnosis or it would also be beneficial in providing more background information in a hospital setting for a patient who needs a cardiac procedure.  One great feature of the app is the ability to draw and write on several anatomic drawings.  Clinicians can explain and inform on the diagram and then print it for the patient – or even email or text it.
       At the CardioVisual website, you can order free cards with a list of topics offered by the app (http://cardiovisual.com/prescription-for-cardiovisual/).  This is a business card sized instruction for patients on which videos their doctor would like them to review or act as a reminder of the videos they had already reviewed with their doctor.
       The app is likely to provide good background for Primary Care Physicians as well.  Any PCP that wanted to be able to know more about specific cardiac procedures can quickly and easily review one of the videos on CardioVisual to obtain a nice overview.  For patients who may need try to explain a new diagnosis or an upcoming procedure to a family member, CardioVisual would be a great resource as well.

       Overall, CardioVisual is a great mobile resource for cardiovascular disease information.

Health App of the Month Will Be Back Next Month

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

–William Penn

April is almost over and I still have not completed my review of the latest health app I have been using.  The Health App of the Month will be back and better than ever in May. Hopefully, with time, I will have more posts this summer on many Digital Health topics.  As always, if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas for the site, please let me know.

March 2017 Aspirin Guide App

Title: Aspirin Guide App
What it is: A mobile evidence based medical app for determining the need for aspirin therapy in heart diseaseHeart
What devices: Apple and Android devices
Cost: Free
Who should use it: mostly physicians but also patients interested in knowing more about preventing heart disease
Why use it:  The decision to use low-dose aspirin for the primary prevention of heart disease can sometimes be a difficult decision.  Physicians need to weight the benefit of aspirin against the risks of gastrointestinal problems.  However beneficial aspirin can be, daily intake of an aspirin can lead to abdominal pain, gastritis and gastrointestinal bleeding.
From a group of physicians at Harvard comes the Aspirin Guide app.  This app takes the most relevant evidence based guidelines to help in the decision making process.  Using ASCVD risk score and guidelines from the US Preventive Task Force, the app walks you through a series of questions about a patients medical history.  These include health factors such as smoking status, systolic blood pressure and cholesterol level.
The app then creates a recommendation based on those health factors.  What is really interesting about the apps recommendation it breaks down why it has that recommendation.  It provides the data on Number Needed to Treat (NNT) and Number Needed to Harm (NNH).   Physicians can really see where the risks are and how they compare to each other.  Its also a good way to discuss the risks and benefits with your patient.  There are also links to the medical journal articles for physicians to review as well.
I would caution any patient using this app, not to start or stop low dose aspirin therapy just using the app alone.  Use the information to start a discussion with your personal physician.  You can even email the results with NNT and NNH to your physician but do not adjust your own aspirin regimen without consulting a physician.

February 2017 CDC Vaccine Schedules

cdc-opening-screenTitle: CDC Vaccine Schedules
What it is: A mobile app for all the CDC vaccine guidelines
What devices: Android and Apple devices
Cost: Free
Who should use it: Any healthcare provider or patient who wants to know more about CDC guidelines for vaccination
Why use it:  Vaccines are an effective and easy way to prevent disease and maintain healthy populations.  For many clinicians the source they use the most for vaccine schedules and information is the CDC website.  This CDC Vaccine Schedules app puts all the important information from the CDC website into a convenient mobile app.
    The information is broken down like most of the distributed vaccine information from the CDC.  The age categories include Birth to 5 years, Adolescents and Adults.  While looking at the graphics on a phone or tablet, turning your device horizontally allows for a broader appearance to the timetable.cdc-front-page
    There is also information on catch-up schedules for children, unique guidelines for pregnancy, immunocompromised patients and healthcare providers.  These are in separate listings on the front page of the app but there is also a lot of information available by tapping “note” from the vaccine schedule it self.
    Overall, this is a very easy to use reference from the CDC for all vaccination guidelines in the palm of your hand.

January 2017 LactMed app

Title: LactMed
What it is: A mobile database of information regarding the safety of medications and supplements during breast feeding
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What devices: Apple and Android Devices
Cost: Free
Who should use it: Physicians, nursing mothers
Why use it:  There are many things about bringing home a new baby that can cause a lot of anxiety.  There are new feeding and sleep schedules, baby proofing your house and maybe even other siblings who needs to get used to the new addition to your family.  Another source of anxiety can be trying to know whctzhat medications are safe for a nursing mother.  That is where the mobile app LactMed can come in handy.
       LactMed is a mobile searchable database that has thousands of medications created by National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health.  For each medicine, LactMed provides information on whether or not the medicine can be found in breast milk, whether it can have an effect on nursing babies and other options for that class of medication. It also provides information on whether or not the medication could effect lactation as well.
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       What’s is great about this app is that not only are there prescription medications but over-the-counter medications and supplements.  All this clinical information is updated monthly.
       This app is perfect for the primary care physician in clinic taking care of their patients who are nursing or for the doctor providing Urgent Care who has a nursing mother as a brand new and ill patient.  If you are not taking care of nursing mothers on a regular basis, it may be hard to stay familiar with medications that are safe for breastfeeding.  This mobile app will be a great, quick reference.
       For patients, specifically nursing mothers, this can be a great app to review the medications you are already taking or any new medications that are started while nursing.  It can be a good way to start a conversation with your physician about your medications.  Of course, always speak with your personal Obstetrician or Primary Doctor before making any changes to your medication regimen.

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.