Many medical and health apps exist in Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, and navigating them is very time consuming. We’ve simplified the search for the best Android health app for patients in this article. Do let us know if we’ve missed your favourite health apps!

The technology and mobile revolution has greatly influenced the healthcare industry. Healthcare mobile apps are no longer created only for physicians or healthcare professionals. There are many simple mobile apps which can be used on a daily basis by patients or their families.

Patients require mobile health apps mainly for drug reference, medical condition reference or for personal health and fitness monitoring. Fitness apps are quite popular among the health-conscious. Apps with pictures of different medical conditions are available for easy reference for laymen, and most of these are fairly easy to use. They provide information to patients mainly as reference or educational material. Some apps also help monitor vital statistics like height, weight, BP, blood sugar levels, and more.

There are 4 categories of health and medical apps for patients:

1. Medical and first aid apps for patients

These apps help the patients get an overview of any medical condition. The language is simple and easy to understand. These apps educate the patients and guide them as to when they should consult a physician.

1. Doctor at Home – In today’s busy lifestyle, these basic home remedies come handy to treat trivial health ailments. Home remedies have been a part of various cultures since times immemorial. This app has a list of home remedies for ailments such as common cold, headache, cough, fever etc. Different body parts are well divided in this app with various ailments and cure under each heading. Very simple and easy to comprehend.

2. First Aid – Accurate and timely delivered first aid can save about 60% of lives in emergencies. This app helps you to identify an emergency and administer first aid. This app also has a dialing facility mainly for a crisis or emergency scenario. Ten of the most commonly encountered emergencies are explained and some have videos for better understanding. Literature regarding how to keep a first aid kit is also nicely written.

3. WebMD – This is one of the most comprehensive healthcare apps and allows patients to even diagnose and understand their disease condition through symptoms. It is one of the most popular medical apps and freely available. Information regarding treatment and prevention is lucidly explained. They have a unique pill identification tool which helps general public identify drugs through colour, shape and size of the pill in case of a mix up!

2. Drug-related health apps for patients

These apps act as a reference for patients regarding drug dosage, drug administration, side effects and contraindications. These apps merely serve the purpose of reference and help patients improve their knowledge of medications.

Drugs Dictionary – This app has a huge list of various drugs which are prescribed by physicians. This app helps laymen to understand anything pertains to drugs, on how to take it, how many times to take it and any side effects. The one downside is that it works only when online.

3. Fitness apps for patients

For all fitness freaks who want to know more about ways to stay super fit, there are various apps which help you monitor and record your vital parameters like pulse, heart rate and BP. These assist the patients to actively take care of their health.

1. Blood Pressure (BP) Watch – This app is very useful for recording blood pressure, heart rate, pulse and weight. With this app a patient need not repeatedly visit his doctor for blood pressure checkups. It has a lifetime data storage and visualisation. This app also helps to correlate your parameters with any medical condition. And the best part- its free!

2. OnTrack Diabetes – With diabetes becoming a household disease, this app helps you to track and record your food consumption, thereby helping you to keep a control of blood glucose and weight.

4. Appointment booking app for patients

In today’s technology-powered world, patients are finding new ways of discovering doctors online and booking online appointments with doctors right from their smartphone.

While physicians in Western countries can look at Zocdoc, for Asia the Practo App is currently the most comprehensive app that lists doctors in India & Singapore. Practo’s app allows patients to find their doctor and book instant appointments right through the app. As a doctor, you can manage these online appointments using Practo Ray, a simple practice management software for doctors.

The last word

This new trend of mobile apps seems to be extremely beneficial to patients have a better control over their health and well being. Recent surveys say that there will be a 25% increase in the number of mobile apps and about 5 million consumers will be using these apps all over the world in the years to come. It is important to note that all these apps are only for reference and if any medical condition arises, it should be immediately attended to by a qualified physician and not self-medicated. While recommending these apps, this should be clearly communicated to your patients that these apps can in no way replace a physician.

Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD

References:

  1. Yetisen, A. K., Martinez-Hurtado, J. L., et al .The regulation of mobile medical applications. Lab on a Chip, 2014;14(5), 833-840.
  2. Pogue, David (November 4, 2009). “A Place to Put Your Apps”. New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2013.