Healthcare is a field who’s use of technology lags far behind that of most other industries. Yet it is one that has some of the greatest potential. From something as “common sense” as a custom 3D printed cast to a custom 3D printed airway, the potential of tech to save cost, lives, and enhance the quality of live of patients is extraordinary. Yet when I went into my doctor’s office this month, the computers were still using Windows XP, an operating system that Microsoft has stopped releasing security updates for.
Health and Tech
Fortunately the tech industry is presenting options for us to take some control over our health. With all the talk about Apple getting into wearable technology with an iWatch that may include health sensors, there is much to be hopeful for. Apple disrupts industries. I get excited when I think about the possibilities if Apple were to break into healthcare.
But I’m getting ahead of things. There are many technologies that can help us to take control of our own health right now. Software is just one way to do it, and here are my 7 iOS apps that I use consistently to enhance my health.
After not being able to find a good interval app, I decided to write my own. I created Chime Squirrel. I use it every day for my workouts and I love it.
Heart Rate is a fun app to see what your heart rate is. I uses the flash on your phone to light up your finger. Then it uses the camera to detect your pulse from the difference in brightness. When your heart pumps there is an influx of blood that darkens your finger over the camera for a split second. It will log it and additional info for you.
MyFitnessPal is an app for to logging food and workouts to track your calorie consumption and expenditure. Sure there are lots of kinds of diets, but the basic and most affective is cutting calorie consumption. There are a lot of apps that do this, but MyFitnessPal has the best library of foods to lookup for tracking. You will want that because constantly entering food nutrition is a task that will quickly disrupt your usage of any app.
Nike Training Club is geared for girls, but exercises are exercises. It consists of many routines. Select one, then it guides you through the full routine with timers for each exercise and break. It has routines to target specific areas of the body, and it has videos incase you aren’t sure how to do an exercise.
From the [FitBit][bit] to the Misfit, there are a lot of options for pedometers. But with the new sensor in the iPhone 5S, I find that I don’t really need to wear a pedometer because I always have my phone on me. And to access that data I use Pedometter++. It was one of the first apps to take advantage of the new iPhone 5S features. It graphs your steps and lets you set a step count goal. It is simple and does what it does well.
Whether walking, running, biking, or doing some other cardio activity, RunKeeper does a really good job of tracking you. I found it to be the most intuitive and accurate to use. It will track you via GPS and steps. At the end of your workout it will give you time, elevation changes, steps and much more. It also integrates with MyFitnessPal to automatically log your workouts and calorie consumption for you.
Weight Diary is an app to track your weight. But it does it in a way that is much more informative than most other apps. See other apps just track your weight and plot points on a graph. But our weight fluctuates day to day. So the most informative thing to get an idea of our weight to plot out a running average. Weight Diary does this very well and multiple views for daily, weekly, monthlys, etc. A running average helps with the emotional roller coaster of, “Oh no, I gained 3 pounds yesterday.” I used to use WeightBot, but it has become buggy with recent iOS versions and support is non-existent. Give Weight Diary a try instead.
Other Health Apps
There are so many other apps you can use to help your health. My wife has an app to identify which foods have gluten in them because she has celiac disease.
Information technology is an area that can be very helpful for our health. It’s super easy to use and create, even though the health care industry lags behind even that.
With wearable tech becoming much bigger, I hope that start seeing consumer hardware for tracking our health.
Do you use any apps or hardware for managing your health?