Wearable tech is offering new ways for patients to self-manage their care, and for physicians to gain added insight into patient health.

As wearable technology continues to gain popularity, manufacturers, and app designers are finding new ways for users to get more out of their devices. For individuals with an Apple Watch, there are some great apps available to help manage or improve aspects of their health. This is also great news for primary care physicians, as it can help them to ensure there is follow through on their recommendations and instructions.

Chances are, your patients are already relying on a myriad of apps for many other aspects of their daily lives, which means that adding another little icon to their device to help them take better care of their health should be an easy bit of advice for them to follow. Especially when those apps make sticking to big changes less stressful, or act as reminders to help them build healthier habits.

These Apple Watch apps are perfect suggestions for patients looking to take some added initiative when it comes to their overall health.

MyChart

Cost: Free, but requires an Epic MyChart subscription
Creator: Epic

Epic MyChart is an award-winning program you’ve likely already heard about, but this new mobile patient interface app is a fantastic addition to this tool. The app lets you messages and appointment reminders to their device, as well as test results and other important pieces of information. All of these features are designed to help improve the patient-physician relationship, leading to improved care outcomes. This kind of consistent contact builds familiarity and trust between you and your patients, making them more likely to come to you with problems or concerns, and more likely to follow through on your advice.

WaterMinder

Cost: $2.99
Creator: Funn Media, LLC

This app offers an easy way for patients to track their fluid intake. While some patients might simply need to hydrate better in order to improve their overall health and could use a reminder to make that happen, for some patients that need is more significant. Patients with end-stage renal failure, cirrhosis with ascites, or congestive heart failure need to closely monitor their fluid intake to avoid a volume overload.

Green Kitchen

Cost: $3.99
Creator: Maxwell Software

This lifestyle app is perfect for patients looking to eat healthier under the guidance of a physician. By providing a selection of carefully-crafted recipes that range from vegan to raw to gluten-free. Many include whole grains and other important health foods, and having them accessible through an app can make a major – and necessary – dietary change less overwhelming. Offering ingredients lists, directions, and encouragement, this app makes cooking and eating healthier foods easy.

Nike+ Run Club

Cost: Free
Creator: Nike, Inc.

This running companion motivates patients to increase their level of activity and tracks their fitness goals. There are a lot of reasons to want to increase a patient’s activity level, such as weight loss or attempting to lower blood pressure. This app uses GPS tracking to detail runs and creates personalized coaching plans. There is also an option for patients to share their data with family or friends in order to gain support for their healthy habits. Whether it’s encouraging a competitive streak or building added accountability into their fitness plan, the option to share data is a nice bonus.

It’s not just your patients that can benefit from the right Apple Watch app. There is a fantastic tool available specifically for medical professionals that are worth looking in to for yourself.

Medical Calc

Cost: Free
Creator: Mikael Cohen

With more than 70 tools and scores available to help with decision-making, this point-of-care tool helps physicians make medically relevant calculations. Having fast access to information that can help physicians make important choices faster and simpler can improve patient outcomes, which makes these kinds of support tools critical in a modern clinical setting. This app puts tools like Wells score, Karnofsky score, BMI, and CKD-EPIT quite literally at your fingertips.

With healthcare technology changing all the time, keeping current while still keeping compliant is a very tall order without the right support guiding your decisions. In much the same way you would never want a patient to make changes to their treatment plan based on something they read online without first bringing it up with you, a good IT provider would never let a client introduce new technology — wearable or otherwise — into the mix that could create problems for your compliance status. By working with a healthcare IT consultant, you can make full use of the latest technology like the apps listing above without jeopardizing the IT health of your practice.

Want to learn more about the apps, software, and other technology available to help you offer a higher level of patient care? 

Author: Aaron White, Date: 28th December 2017

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