Healthy Technology: Apps

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Wed, 05/11/2016

One of the more interesting pieces of technology that has become popular in the last decade or so is the app, the common language for mobile application. While technology like apps may appear overwhelming at first, learning to use them can be beneficial in helping to manage your own health. Perhaps one of the best ways to access apps is by a tablet computer. Lightweight and versatile, these devices include a “senior-friendly” screen that can measure almost 10 inches instead of the smaller screens of smart phones.1 Upon obtaining your device, don’t be afraid to ask family members, friends and your physician about the different apps that could help you.

What is an App?

You may have heard the word tossed around in conversations or seen advertisements touting apps for stores, but what exactly is an app? According to Oxford Dictionary, an “app” is “a piece of software designed to fulfill a particular purpose; an application, especially as downloaded by a user to a mobile device” (and was available in their app). Apps, though, are more than just games. Since their creation, apps have started to help with monitoring daily activities and have become increasingly useful in managing a person’s health. In fact, cell phones are no longer just fun pieces of technology since 84% of adults who own a cell phone use them to text, email, browse the Web, download and use apps.1

While specified app brand is determined by the device used (the Apple store for iOS, Google Play for android, Kindle apps, etc.) there are five main categories that adults can find useful when it comes to their health and lifestyle. These categories include:

  • Health and Fitness:These apps range from offering daily exercise to helping track your blood pressure. Perhaps the most important are alert apps that let health care centers know if you fall or if you need an ambulance. Still more apps offer sleep aids, meditation exercises for stress and some even help your golf swing. While all of these apps are helpful, it is good to remember that an app is not a healthcare professional.
  • Cooking and Dining:Whether you feel like trying a new recipe your kitchen or a new restaurant in your neighborhood, an app in this category can provide it all. Particularly if you’re looking for something to fit diet restrictions such as meals using ingredients low in vitamin K.
  • Lifestyle Apps:If you ever have trouble organizing yourself, you can always find an app to help you. For example, having your grocery list on your phone while you grocery shop can prevent you from forgetting something. Also, groups like AARP have apps that list top stories as well as group advantages2.
  • Game Apps:While you may not be interested in playing a game where birds are being launched at pigs there are other games that can work your brain. Remember that your brain is a muscle and it must be exercised. Game apps like Lumosity or Fit Brains help by providing fun games designed to improve memory, attention, mental flexibility and speed in less than 20 minutes a day.2 You can also find other game apps that provide daily puzzles, crosswords and word games where you can even play against others.
  • Travel Apps:Interested in going to another country or even to another state? Travel apps are now available to help travelers by providing ways to buy a plane ticket, book a hotel, rent a car or even translate foreign signs.

Remember that we have a useful app as well. You can download our Alere CoagClinic® Self-Test Portal app and manage your home INR testing on your iPhone®, iPad® or Android device. The Alere VADWatch® Telemonitoring program was recently highlighted as an app that does provide accurate results among a number of other applications that may not provide benefits as promised. See this recent news story by CBS Miami.

“Every morning, 88-year old Milton Meisner checks his vitals like weight, temperature and blood pressure using his iPad. The results are instantly sent to his doctors through an online app. ‘And the numbers are accurate, you can’t fool around with the numbers,’ said Meisner. Meisner’s health care app… works the way it should. “ 

References:

  1. Bower, M. (2014). 10 Senior-Friendly Apps. Discovery Channel. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-senior-friendly-apps.htm.
  2. Rufca, S. (2014). 10 Apps Help Seniors Stay Healthy. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from http://www.chron.com/news/health/article/10-apps-help-seniors-stay-healthy-5495512.php.

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