Time to develop a healthy appetite for apps
Many of the latest apps are geared towards helping you get healthier. Here are some of the best, writes CLAIRE O'CONNELL
In recent years the smartphone has brought “apps” into everyday life – software applications that can run on mobile devices and make it easier to get and use information on the move.
Plenty of apps have health in mind, and some even have people in Ireland in mind, too.
We look at some free apps for the iPhone (and iPad) that could put good health or information in easier reach.
UPMC Beacon – Finding your way to a hospital visit
Preparing for a hospital visit can be tricky, particularly if it’s your first time going to that hospital or having that procedure.
Earlier this year UPMC Beacon Hospital in Sandyford, Co Dublin, brought out an app to help people using the hospital’s services find information easily.
“We wanted something simple – our hospital at your fingertips,” says Paula Mullen, director of corporate affairs at UPMC Beacon Hospital.
“We have quite an elaborate website that has been developed over the past five years, and people can go onto it for information, like videos of procedures. But we also wanted something that would be simple to access for GPs, patients and family members.”
The free app offers information about the kinds of services available at the hospital and practical details such as contact numbers and directions to get there. It also has a facility to remind you when an appointment is coming up.
“We didn’t want to make it the website on an app, that’s not what it’s about, so we reduced the information to byte-sized form,” says Mullen. “I think the best apps are the ones that are easy to use.”
Aviva Health Mate – Come run with me
Running can get a bit boring when you pound the same track over and over again. Aviva’s Health Mate app offers a few ways to shake things up.
For one thing, it has more than 100 pre-loaded walking and running routes in Ireland.
Plus the pedometer app can automatically track your progress, meaning users can evaluate how their health and fitness is improving or areas that may still need work, explains Kate Candon, marketing manager with Aviva Health Insurance.
“With Health Mate you can calculate your BMI and track your progress as you work on your fitness,” she says.
“[The app] also has a multimedia centre that promotes a fun, uninterrupted workout set to great music and a direct link to Facebook, so you can publish your fitness milestones online.”
Now you just have to tie your laces and get moving.