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Medical Apps Are The New “House Calls”

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Want to lose a little weight, need to monitor blood glucose levels or does the mole on your arm leave you concerned but not enough to go to the doctor?

Grab your smart phone if you have answered yes to any of those questions. There are apps the will help you track and manage many kinds of health and medical issues all on your own.

Megan Cooper, a mother of two, have found the medical apps to be helpful. This busy momma juggles a newborn while washing dishes, doing laundry and taking care of her other daughter. Her business makes her a fan of phone apps that help her save time and stay on top of her family’s health.

“I use a handful of apps on my phone to help me lose baby weight, to keep track of my health along with my baby’s,” Cooper said.

She also has to keep a close eye on her infant because of the baby’s health issues.

“She has a condition called SVT that I need to be able to check her heart rate on a regular basis so I’m able to do that with the camera and the flash,” said Cooper.

Because of her apps, Cooper’s smart phone is a stand in for a stethoscope. It’s also ideal for monitoring Cooper’s caloric intake as she tries to lose the baby weight keeps up with a fitness routine. This is all thanks to the growing number of apps geared toward health and medicine. There are 13 thousand apps and more being added each day.

Brian Dolan, from Mobi Health News, said there is a growing number of apps specifically for medical professionals.

“There’s an additional five-thousand to six-thousand apps for physicians, nurses, medical students, really medical professionals,” Dolan said.

Many apps are capable of interacting with your household appliances. For example, there is a Wi-Fi enabled scale for your home.

“It actually sends your weight, your BMI, body mass index, as well as your body fat percentage,” Dolan said.

There is also a high-tech glucose meter that plugs into your iPhone and the results are sent to the phone and charts are created.

“It’s very easy for you to then send those charts to your care provider, your family friends, and others that are helping you manage your condition,” said Dolan.

If you are worried about skin cancer there is an app that allows you to see if your moles may be a possible threat. However, consulting with doctor for a diagnosis is always best.

“These apps aren’t going to specifically diagnose you with anything they will let you know if maybe that mole has an irregular shape, irregular color, and give you a sense to how risky that mole might be,” Dolan said.

The FDA is working on guidelines that will regulate certain apps, just as it does medical devices. In the meantime they are keeping an eye on claims being made.

“Last year the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, actually removed a handful of apps from Apple’s app store that claimed to help users cure their acne just by shining a blue light on their face using the iPhone screen,” Dolan said.

As a mother of two young children, Cooper certainly counts on her apps to help ease her load, if they do nothing else.

“I don’t have to carry around extra things like a stethoscope, or a calorie counter or a pedometer,” Cooper said.

As a word of caution, you will find that some apps are more efficient than others. You should start your search with trusted sources similar to those you’d refer to on the web if you are considering adding an app to your healthcare regime. Also, discuss the apps with your doctor or caregiver when dealing with life threatening illnesses.

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