Manage your health from the palm of your hand
Health apps have made taking care of yourself more accessible than ever before
We saw the future on Star Trek in 1966, when Dr. McCoy diagnosed and treated the Starfleet crew on the go, all from a handheld, beeping gadget. It’s been just over 50 years since then, but we are “boldly going” into the future when it comes to health apps. Smartphone apps make taking care of yourself easier than ever, helping you relax, exercise, diet, sleep, track hormones, stop smoking, manage asthma, and prevent diabetes.
“Even five years ago, this was science fiction,” Dr. James E. Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, tells the New York Times.
Blue Shield of California has launched its own digital health platform called Wellvolution®. The platform allows members to address health concerns through customized programs to make healthy lifestyle changes. One of the programs is the Diabetes Prevention Program, which provides support for losing weight and preventing type 2 diabetes, at no additional cost.
Here are 10 of our favorite health apps, most of which are available as part of Wellvolution.
- Calm. This app features meditation techniques for sleep and stress reduction, including timed breathing and immersive soundscapes.
- MyFitnessPal. With more than 6 million foods in its database, MyFitnessPal allows you to track your calories and nutrients and log your workouts. Based on what you log, the app calculates your ideal caloric intake and nutrients for your level of activity and lets you know how many calories you get to consume for the rest of the day.
- Charity Miles. Exercise can help keep you on track toward your goals. Need some extra motivation to lace up those sneakers? This app rewards your bike rides and runs with donations to your favorite organizations.
- Strava. A running and cycling tracker app with an online community, Strava automatically groups users based on where they are at certain times so you can run or ride with friends. You can also track swimming and wheelchair exercise.
- Better Therapeutics. This is a web-based and mobile app to help you reverse high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes. It provides one-on-one coaching, recipes, meal planning, grocery lists, and activity and dietary intake monitoring.
- Flo Health. Flo Health is an app for women so they can predict periods, navigate fertility, track pregnancy, and manage menopause.
- Better. Don’t forget the money side of health care. Better is an app that makes it easier to get reimbursed for non-network medical bills you’ve already paid. Just take a photo of the bill, and they’ll do the paperwork for you.
- Zipongo. Managing your nutrition can be as easy as a few clicks on your smartphone. Zipongo includes a large database of recipes, meal planning tools, shopping lists, and recommendations for what to eat at local restaurants. They even offer a nutrition quiz that can be taken at any time for you to identify where dietary improvements are needed.
- Propeller. This app is connected to a digital sensor on your inhaler to help you manage your asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Use it to remember to take your medications on time and reduce flare-ups. The company says that many users see improvement in their health after just one month.
- The MyQuit Band. This app is focused on helping you to quit smoking. The wearable wristband tracks cravings, and the app shows you how you’re doing on your quitting goals.
If you are a Blue Shield member, you can download our mobile app to check your deductible, find doctors and facilities, submit medical claims just by taking a picture, and so much more. If you haven’t yet, it takes just a minute to register.
With all these new apps, a healthier future is in the palm of your hand!
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The Diabetes Prevention Program is provided by Solera Health, an independent company.
Wellvolution is a registered trademark of Blue Shield of California.