Health

5 cool new health care apps

SAN FRANCISCO — Your health is not solely in your doctor’s hands. As mobile technology improves and health care providers reach out to consumers, many apps are popping up to help people manage their own health.

The problem is that too many of these apps are useless.

At HealthBeat 2013 today, David Levin, chief medical information officer of Cleveland Clinic explained what he sees all too often when reviewing new technology: “CrApps,” or crappy apps.

Fortunately, not all apps are crappy. Here are some of the most promising new consumer health apps.

PokitDok

Pokitdok is a health marketplace with price transparency for health services, where consumers can shop directly from providers. Originally launched as a “Pinterest for healthcare,” the mobile app now offers tools for payers to facilitate transactions.

Coolness factor: Although it’s unclear whether consumers will actually purchase health services online, fully transparent cost data should facilitate better care decisions and value based judgments. The app also collects quality ratings data for providers so that patients can generate a match score based on their personal and clinical needs in order to locate their ideal provider. PokitDok makes it possible for patients to consider both efficacy and price when making healthcare decisions.

Caremerge

Caremerge is the first app that allows caregivers to communicate and coordinate with those living in senior  communities. Through their web and mobile apps, staff can connect with each other while offsite stakeholders (doctors, family members, etc.) organize timely care.

Coolness factor: As the population ages and baby boomer smartphone adoption increases, Caremerge will engage families in managing their elders’ health and help reduce hospital readmissions. But only 18 percent of consumers age 50 or older currently have a smartphone, and those are exactly the people who are generally caring for seniors, so this number will have to rise.

MangoHealth

MangoHealth came out of RockHealth’s 2012 class and enables users to facilitate and track their medication intake. The app identifies potentially dangerous interactions with medications, supplements, or food and drink, provides medication reminders, and offers real-world rewards for taking medication on time.

Coolness factor: Over half of the U.S. adult population uses supplements and 40 percent of older adults take 5 or more prescriptions per day. As these numbers increase, a user-friendly app can prevent adverse health reactions and decrease medication non-compliance (estimated to be a $289 billion problem.)

Asthmapolis

The Asthmapolis sensor sits on top of an inhaler and automatically syncs data to a mobile app on your smartphone. The system provides personalized feedback and education to control asthma, which affects 25 million people in the US.

Coolness factor: Once the sensor is paired, the phone will automatically capture data from the sensor whenever it is nearby (I wish my Jawbone Up were this easy to use).

Allayo

Allayo is a virtual health assistant that can save your family as much as 100 hours per year on health care activities. Members can send reminders, order and refill prescriptions, schedule appointments, arrange for tests and labwork, find help with insurance claims, and arrange home delivery. (The company also mentions gamification and loyalty, but we’re less excited about those buzzwords.)

Coolness factor: Allayo has created a new category of health care offerings; the virtual healthcare assistant. As our current system becomes increasingly difficult to navigate, this service provides  “certified medical assistants” who are available on the phone or through secure chat to take care of members’ health needs.

Photo credit: Michael O’Donnell/VentureBeat


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