Keeping up your health can be hard work — America’s rising obesity levels can attest to that. These days, we spend countless hours gawking at our smartphone displays, continually playing borderline-addicting games and watching videos that may actually have adverse affects on our health in the long run. However, your smartphone can also be robust medical accessory with the right intrigue and set of mobile apps.
There’s a variable swath of free and premium medical apps on the market, some of which allow you to better understand pharmaceuticals while others work to diagnose your symptoms and prep you for an unforeseen medical emergency. Below are a few of our current favorites for keeping you in the know. They certainly shouldn’t replace your routine trip to the doctor, but they might just make things a bit easier.
Micromedex is a simple pharmaceutical reference app with features such as proper drug dosage and medicine recommendations. You can search the name of a specific drug to find out how it should be taken, as well as any potential side effects. You can also search by ailment for drug recommendations that will combat your medical problem, from the standard fever to lice control. Micromedex is in-depth, yet simplistic, so anyone can quickly find what they’re looking for in a pinch.
For someone studying medicine, working as a medical professional, or just interested in medical news, UpToDate is a great way to keep track of medical advancements and news. You can look at the “What’s New” section to peruse headlines, or you can search for specific topics. Along with articles, UpToDate provides videos on medical procedures and allows you to email or bookmark any page, so you can start a conversation with a colleague or save it for future reference.
Johns Hopkins ABX Guide
A comprehensive reference app, Johns Hopkins ABX Guide allows you to search for information on medications and treatments regarding various illnesses. Plug in a drug and see a list of recommended dosages, side effects, and restrictions on behavior while you’re taking it. The app also offers evidence-based recommendations, giving you a better idea of whether a medication is right for your particular lifestyle. However, the best feature remains the comprehensive table that breaks down drug costs.
Red Cross First Aid
Accidents happen, and honestly, we don’t always know what to do when they occur. That said, the Red Cross’ official First Aid app provides simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through everyday first aid scenarios, whether talking asthma attacks or broken bones. It also supplies you with a host of infromative quizes and safety tips regarding natural disasters such as hurricanes, and given that it preloads all content in advance, you never have to worry about whether you have cellular service.
MyChart allow you to access your medical records on your phone at any time. You can quickly see which vaccinations you’ve had and when at a glance, along with the last time you visited the doctor and which prescriptions you’re taking. You can even send a non-urgent message to your clinic and receive a response within a couple days, schedule visits from directly within the app, and request prescription refills. Best of all, you can see all your information online if you can’t access it due to cellular outages.
Epocrates takes reference apps to a whole new level. Not only does the robust offering supply basic information regarding the side effects and dosage amounts of various prescription drugs, but it also allows you to contact their manufacturer directly. If you are having a hard time finding your medication, you can also use the app to find providers and insurance information. Other hallmarks includes its ability to perform dozens of calculations and identify pills using their imprint code or physical characteristics.
Doctor on Demand
If you’ve ever wanted a doctor in your pocket — a physician, pediatrician, or psychologist — Doctor on Demand is for you. The convenient app lets you instantly connect with licensed professionals via video chats and audio calls, thus granting you access to medical advice and prescriptions based on your particular symptoms without you ever having to step out the door. A standard 15-minute all will cost you $40 though, and you aren’t able to choose your doctor.
Though not necessarily a medical app per se, GlassOff might save you a visit to the optometrist. The app uses various exercises to train your eyes, subsequently working to improve the way your brain processes images by enhancing the image processing function of the brain. After taking a short test designed to assess your vision, the app encourages you to participate in a slew of daily training sessions designed as a basic workout for your eyes.
Skin cancer is the most common forms of cancer in America, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay the doctor a visit every time you develop a new mole on your skin. Instead, try out the aptly-titled SkinVision. The basic app determines whether a mole is dangerous based on a picture you provide, and furthermore, keeps track of questionable moles via an archive of photos you can later reference to spot potential changes. The app also assesses your skin type and creates a risk profile.
You can’t always get out of a trip to the doctor, but you can make booking one easier with ZocDoc. The simple app allows you to find neighborhood doctors within your insurance network, each with verified reviews from other patients that function much like a Yelp review. You can also view open appointments and instantly book during your preferred time slot, or set checkup reminders and complete all the necessary paperwork for your medical appointment before you head to the office.
At its heart, Medscape MedPulse is a news aggregator designed for anything and everything related to the world of medicine. Once you’ve personalized the app with a girth of specialties you deem important, the app provides you with an onslaught of articles written specifically for physicians, students, and healthcare professionals. News topics cover everything from new practice guidelines and the FDA to insights from more than 150 conferences.
Managing medication can be a chore (and confusing). Thankfully, CareZone lets you curate a list of medications, dosages, and schedules directly from your photo library. The app also allows you to document and share symptoms with your family or doctor, while giving you the means to store vital insurance information and schedule reminders for upcoming appointments. The personalized health tips and ability to assign to-do lists and store important documents for future reference are only a plus.
This article was originally published on July 4, 2014, and updated on June 10, 2015, to include new apps such as ZocDoc, CareZone, and Medscape MedPulse.