November 13-19 marks Digital Health Week, an annual celebration to recognize how digital health is transforming the delivery of care across Canada as more of our healthcare services become digital. Through innovations such as telemedicine, e-visits, predictive diagnostics, wearable sensors and a host of new smartphone apps, digital health has become an increasingly popular medium in helping Canadians manage their health and wellness.
Dr. Kendall Ho, Professor with University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine is leading the evolution of digital emergency medicine. Dr. Ho often prescribes apps for his patients and has provided five tips to make choosing the best health app easy:
- Your Condition – Apps can serve many purposes such as tracking symptoms, managing chronic disease, or measuring fitness strides. Ensure the app is a good fit for your condition and wellness goals.
- Ease of Use – Apps that are too difficult to navigate will not motivate you to use them. Consider the amount of information you are required to enter, how often you will be entering information, and if reminder alerts are available.
- Effectiveness – Do your research by reading reviews from other users, and asking your health care provider on the effectiveness of the app.
- Privacy – Understand privacy policies for apps and know the privacy settings on your smartphone. Remember that apps can be vulnerable to hacking, so consider information shared.
- Safety – Use apps with caution. Some may provide advice or tips that don’t take into account your medical history or conditions. Always advise a health care professional if you are unsure.
Need some app ideas? Forbes has identified 12 top health and wellness apps to get you to your digital health goals:
- Yonder – Outdoor adventure/travel
- Aaptiv – Audio fitness training
- Headspace – Guided meditations
- Forks Over Knives – Plant-based recipes from well-known chefs
- Spotify – Create custom running playlists
- Shop Well – Shop for food based on dietary goals
- Sleep Cycle – Monitor your sleep patterns and sounds
- SideChef – Recipe library and voice prompter
- Keelo – Create a comprehensive workout plan
- Healthy Living – Insights into personal care and food ingredients
- DietBet – Weight loss coaching
- Relationup – Text access to professional counsellors
By using smartphone apps and other digital health mediums, we are empowering ourselves as patients, saving time, and ultimately taking ownership of our personal health and wellbeing.
What does digital health mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: http://www.investmentexecutive.com/documents/10175/7356434/Digital%20 Health?t=1470331985751
Better Health Together (n.d.). Digital Health in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealthtogether.ca/digital-health-in-canada/what-is-digital-health