iTriage helps people find medical care on their mobile phones

iTriage appp

iTriage apppThere are mobile apps that will help you improve your  health, but what about when you’re sick or injured?  You need to know what is wrong with you and where to get it treated (probably more important).

The iTriage app for Android, iOS, and Palm will help you diagnosis what ails you. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can still access the information on the web. It starts out with a diagram of the body and offers a list of diagnoses. Each comes with:

  • Descriptions
  • Causes
  • Treatments
  • Images (which may cause some queasiness)
  • Links to YouTube videos
  • Directions to find medical help
  • Sources of more information

I’m not a doctor (but I wish I played one on TV) so I cannot offer guidance on whether the medical information is accurate or not. But iTriage is tremendous help finding medical care. It has databases for:

  • Physicians
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics that treat minor illnesses
  • Emergency and urgent care centers
  • Community health centers (Offering subsidized care for low-income patients)
  • Pharmacies

Each listing has contact information and a map. This is a valuable tool for anyone in a new area who needs anything from a new primary care physician to an emergency room. You also can request an appointment with healthcare providers you find with the app.

All listings, medicine and disease information can be saved on your phone. There also is the ability to save your insurance information. The app may be able to use the information to customize the advice hotlines you can call to get more information on your condition or finding medical care.

Conclusion

iTriage is a handy app when researching medical information, but I wouldn’t use it to turn my phone into a medical tricorder and play doctor. The physician and hospital finding functions are extremely useful, but it wasn’t very useful for finding a primary care physician in my area.

Warning: Excessive use can lead to cyberchondria.

Jawbone UP: A Wristband and App for Improving Your Health

Remember Jawbone? The company that made such nice Bluetooth headsets they were almost cool enough to wear in public? Well, Jawbone is at it again, but get ready for something completely different. They’ve taken their tiny gadget know-how and applied it to a problem we’ve all encountered: improving our health and fitness.

Jawbone UP is a wristband that you wear to track your physical activity, meals, and sleep habits throughout the day. It works in tandem with the UP app for your iPhone, which takes information gathered from the wristband and crunches it into visual statistics to track your progress. Jawbone believes that by tracking your health decisions throughout the day (everyday), you’ll be more apt to fulfill your health and fitness goals. Fair enough, but are the features worth using?

With such a large amount of data flowing into the app, UP is able to provide some enticing functionality to keep you on the wagon. For starters, the Activity monitor shows day-to-day and aggregate statistics for your daily movement. It tracks your total steps and distance traveled, estimates calorie burn, and suggests activity goals in line with your weight loss objectives.

UP takes a simple but clever approach to tracking your meals. Rather than counting calories, UP encourages you to snap photos of every meal and, a few hours later, asks you how you feel. You’ll quickly learn which foods leave you energized and which leave you wishing you’d had a salad instead.

Sleep is probably the most undervalued health-related activity in our lives. UP puts a premium on your sleep by monitoring your hours of rest and even tracking how much you fidget in bed. Is it time for a new mattress? UP will help you attain your perfect sleep schedule, and the wristband will silently wake you at your optimal time (vibrations, ooooo…).

Do you need some competition to keep you motivated? UP includes a solid array of Challenges for you to join, either against yourself or the world. Do you have a group of friends that exercise together? Invite them to a private Challenge and see who can be the first to walk 100,000 steps or erase their slept debt. The idea is to keep your activity varied and your mind engaged to maximize your long-term health.

Jawbone has created yet another compelling and attractive piece of technology that may be just what the doctor ordered. UP costs $99.00 (which includes the wristband + app), which isn’t bad when you consider how much you paid for that heart monitor watch last January. Currently, the wristband plugs into the headphone jack of the iPhone for syncing, but knowing Jawbone, it’s only a matter of time before wireless functionality (Bluetooth or radio) is added.

As Christmas approaches, the Jawbone may be the gift that keeps on giving. Solid hardware and excellent app design will keep you coming back, and hopefully lead you to a sustained healthier lifestyle.

Image credits: Jawbone.com

Five Free Android Apps to Improve Your Health & Fitness

Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds, but a sustainable lifestyle change isn’t always easy. A missed day at the gym can give way to a cheeseburger, and before you know it you’re back on the couch two weeks deep into a black hole of inactivity and junk food. These things happen, but your Android-powered phone can help you dig yourself out of that rut and improve your overall health, fitness and (probably) happiness.

The Android Marketplace offers a wide range of health- and fitness-related apps for the choosing. Here are some of my favorites that have helped me avoid a catastrophic health meltdown.

1. Diet Assistant

I tend toward no-frills, easy-to-use apps and this one fits the bill nicely. Diet Assistant tracks your daily meals and offers calorie estimates, which are tracked and graphed to show your progress. Similarly, it will keep tabs on your weight and give you a graph to show to your friends. Just kidding, don’t show your friends — they won’t be as excited as you. Anyway, you’ll be surprised how the momentum builds as you see your weight drop with your reduced calorie intake. Soon you’ll be making smarter food choices just to keep your graph looking nice. Oh, and there will be the added bonus of weight loss.

2. Push Ups

Again, a simple app that serves its purpose well. Push Ups is a virtual trainer that allows you to set goals for consecutive push ups and creates a routine so you can achieve it at your own pace. This may be my favorite app on the list because the gains impressed me. [Bragging alert] I’ve been using Push Ups for a couple of months and started my program barely able to do 20 push ups in a row. With the help of this app, which accounts for off days, I can do over 50 without rest. Push Ups transformed me into the total stud I am today. Hey — don’t roll your eyes at me.

3. Adidas miCoach

Motivation is a major obstacle that miCoach aims to solve. This app is a trainer for a variety of sports, including custom workouts, that measures your distance, pace, calories burned, and more. MiCoach monitors your workouts and offers assessments that keep you steadily improving. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to reach your goals if you have a program telling you what is acceptable and what is lazy. MiCoach is feature-packed (even GPS!) and will keep you rolling with whatever form of exercise you choose — yoga to basketball. Definitely worth a try.

4. Softrace

If you have a competitive streak in you, Softrace is probably your ticket to reaching your fitness goals. You can choose from a variety of race types (biking, skiing, running and more) and compete against others on pre-defined tracks in your area. Softrace tracks your statistics like altitude, pace, and time and keeps it all in a convenient workout diary. Sometimes you just want to race somebody, and Softrace makes this exceedingly convenient, even if you don’t have any competitive friends.

5. Music Therapy For Sound Sleep

Face it, if you’re a working sap with any amount of ambition, you probably aren’t sleeping well. If you spend a lot of time on your computer at night, that just makes matters worse, and believe it or not, it affects your diet and exercise by making you lethargic during the day. Sound Sleep offers ambient sounds to help you relax at night and get to sleep more easily. Match this with some light reading and you’ll be snoozing in no time. Remember, a good day starts with a good night’s rest.

As they always say, change comes from within, but don’t be afraid to seek help from your friendly Android phone in your journey to self-improvement. Mix and match the apps that work for you and maybe one day you’ll be able to do as many push-ups as me. Ha, yeah right!

Track Your Sleeping Habits with ‘Sleep As An Droid’

While I can say the name of the app is catchy (but not grammatically correct for that matter), I can’t say Sleep As An Droid is just an alarm clock. This new Android app is a supercharged alarm clock on several doses of steroids. By setting your phone on your mattress while you sleep, the app can track your movements throughout the night and get a sense of what your sleep cycles are like. Based on this data, it can tell when you’re in a deep or light sleep.

Besides being able to see your sleeping habits on nifty graphs, the whole goal behind the app is to wake you up in the morning as non-intrusively as possible. To accomplish this, the alarm first goes off quietly and slowly gets louder and louder until you eventually hear it and wake up. It will also attempt to wake you up when you’re in a light sleep state, rather than when you’re in deep sleep (which is obviously a horrible time to get woken up by an alarm). If the app sees that you’re in a light sleep around 10 minutes before the alarm is supposed to go off, it will wake you up then rather than later when you might enter a deep sleep.

One thing that sets Sleep As An Droid apart from other alarm clock apps is the ability to improve its effectiveness by actually learning about your sleeping habits and needs over time. The more you use it, the more accurate it becomes.

Now, there’s a big downside to the app (but one that makes perfect sense). It simply won’t work well if you’re sharing a bed with a significant other or if you have pets that like to jump on the bed in the middle of the night.  These disturbances will give the app inaccurate readings.

Sleep As An Droid is currently priced at $1.35 for the complete “unlocked” version, but you can try it out for free for 14 days before committing. This will give you more than enough time to surf through all the options (believe me, there are a lot) and see how well the app works for you.

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