Do you have a New Year’s resolution that already feels a bit off track? The good news is there are more digital tools than ever at our disposal to help us achieve our health and wellness goals. If you are struggling to stay organized, keep motivated or measure your progress, a digital health device or tracking app may be a solution that’s worth exploring.
The beauty of health tech is that it is designed to integrate into our lives, not the other way around. By wearing a small device or downloading an app onto our phones, we can begin to collect real-time data on our health habits.
Measuring the number of steps that you take each day by yourself is completely unrealistic. But with a pedometer, you can know exactly how active (or inactive) you are. And with this knowledge, you can change specific habits or behaviors by making small adjustments rather than sweeping reforms.
As technology continues to transform our lives, there are a number of terrific options to help you track and compare your fitness goals. As the first health system in the country to introduce the concept of a ‘genius bar’ in a healthcare setting, Ochsner Health has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to digital medicine. The O Bar uses interactive health technology to help people navigate their health through doctor-approved apps, activity trackers and other devices.
With 11 O Bar locations (including one mobile O Bar) and counting, we are experts at identifying and “prescribing” health apps to help you achieve your goals. Below are some of the free options that we often recommend along with their key features.
Fooducate is a free health tracker that allows you to track what you eat and measure your activities. It looks beyond calorie counts to deliver a personalized nutrition grade that reveals information found in nutrition panels.
Fooducate also analyzes information found in product nutrition panels and ingredient lists, such as:
Shopwell is another great free resource that allows users to scan products to see how they match up to their personal food profiles. Foods are given a personalized score between 1-100 based on dietary preferences, gender and age. The app will also recommend better matches based on what you are looking for, whether that’s an option lower in sugar or gluten-free.
MyFitnessPal is a very popular food and exercise tracking app, with over 11 million foods in its database. It integrates with over 50 other health apps, so it can serve as your personalized food tracker while also connecting with other health trackers like FitBit.
Map My Fitness is powered by Under Armour and serves as a fitness training app and GPS fitness tracker. Using your location, this app can help you measure your daily running distance, calories burned, elevation and more.
MyChart is Ochsner Health’s electronic medical record system, which allows you to access all of your health information including test results, prescriptions, upcoming appointments and medical history in one easy-to-use portal. If you are an Ochsner patient, I highly recommend creating a MyChart account! Our specific version is called MyOchsner.
MyOchsner very simple to use, and you can even communicate with your provider’s office directly through the messaging app if you have questions or need to request information.
Ochsner Anywhere Care is another convenient digital health management resource that offers immediate access to a healthcare provider from your smartphone, tablet or computer. The app is available for iOS and Android devices and is perfect for people who need to speak with a doctor quickly without traveling to an office or clinic.
Anywhere Care visits are ideal for treating common, minor illnesses and ailments that don’t require a trip to the ER or urgent care. This app is also a terrific option for those with unreliable transportation, where getting to and from the doctor’s office is challenging or if you live in a place where the closest provider is far away.
iHealth My Vitals allows you to track your key vitals like blood pressure, weight, glucose and other readings. The app stores your health information in an easy-to-read format, and also provides instant access to your measurements. This app is very helpful for allowing you to see how you are really doing versus your health goals.
Whatever app you choose, I wish you the best of luck as you pursue your New Year’s resolutions this year!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Jan. 4, 2018.