Tag: apps

#HAchat Recap: Health Activists talk Health Technology

We had a great Health Activist Tweetchat today on the subject of health technology. We wanted to know what patients are using now when it comes to health apps, games, and devices – and who better to ask than the savvy Health Activists that lead them?


Here are our top take-aways:

1. Health Activists are REALLY interested in apps related to their conditions and activism but aren’t convinced the right ones exist just yet.

@TiffanyandLupus “T1: I’m still looking for a #lupus specific mobile app; none yet 🙁 #hachat

@KatharineS84 @wegohealth Unfortunately, I’m unaware of any apps specifically for #cysticfibrosis – can’t think of what there would be. #HAchat

Everyone was excited to share their favorite apps (read below for a full list) and how they are able to manage/track/and keep in touch with their health mobile-y through their smart phones, tablets, or laptops. Most apps seem to focus on diet and exercise – and more condition-specific apps could really be a game-changer for the health app industry.


2. Health Activists are open to apps sponsored by pharmaceutical companies as long as they’re actually helpful for the community – and even more, they’re interested in helping build them right!

@KatharineS84 “YES.  Me too. RT @susanmees: KatharineS84 Itd be gr8 if you could test it before they launched.  Id LOVE to test apps. #HAchat”

Utility and usability are key. If you build it, they will come – but if it’s not great – they won’t stay. If healthcare companies got into the app creation world – would they be sure to get the integral patient input to make their app the best it can be? I would put a Health Activist app tester up against any techy insider – these patients know what their communities want and will tell you honestly how to improve. How can we work together to make this happen?

3. Health Activists aren’t completely sold on the gameification of health and are focused on making sure the community is the on getting the rewards (rather than the individual).

@TiffanyandLupus “Nope! RT @wegohealth: Ok! Topic 2: There is a lot of discussion about health games and “gameification” – do you play health games? #hachat”

@kdhoffman2 “gamification seems 2 mean many it applying game mechanics to worksite health events (for example) or creating v.g.s 4 hlth #HAchat”

@NateOsit “@wegohealth Mixed feelings re: gamification.  I think there needs to be more community incentives for health, not individual rewards #HAchat”

@NateOsit “T3 Skeptical about new expensive devices.  Doesn’t address the very basic issues that have biggest health impacts #HAchat”

Companies are working to add play into our lives through techy games and “reward systems” to make our app, game, and device use more social and more interactive overall. But will this really make things easier for patients? Only time will tell. Until we truly have a clear definition of where gamification of Health Care is going – Health Activists (and we) will remain skeptical. Is the goal truly: patient first? What are the real benefits?


Health technology isn’t everywhere yet – but it’s getting there. Patients and healthcare professionals alike want to streamline care and make every minute (and treatment) count. If we can get there through technology safely (and affordably) – this could be huge for everyone involved in the world of healthcare.


Here are the apps recommended by Health Activists during our chat:

  • Weightdate
  • Maymyrun
  • Couch to 5k
  • Care_Coach
  • Glucose Buddy
  • I Manage Migraines
  • Rheumtracker
  • Glooko
  • PeriodTracker
  • EndoGoddess
  • Speed Anatomy
  • Foldit
  • iTriage


FDA Hosts Twitter Chat to Discuss Health App Regulation

Wednesday I came across a Google+ post by Nick Dawson, saying that the FDA was about to host a Twitter Chat on Health Apps and regulation. When I blinked away my disbelief, I was excited to see how they would conduct the chat and, foray as if for the first time, into our turf of social media. It’s common knowledge around online health communities that the FDA has been on pause, at a stand-still, with regards to presenting their regulations for healthcare companies in the social media space. So to see that they decided to use social media to announce regulation for new health technology felt strange and a bit ironic. But who were we to argue – this is exactly the sort of engagement we hope to encourage and, in that – I think, our chat responses were generally positive and inquisitive when they could have veered into indignant and frustrated. I was particularly excited to learn more about health app regulation especially in light of our recent webinar on the topic – when one of the questions came up about regulation and how app creators and users should react. FDA, your response came at the perfect time for our audience and I eagerly await your answers to more questions (off of Twitter this time – you can submit questions to the FDA App team until October. Check out the draft of the guidance document here for more info). While it seemed that the FDA had a bit of trouble keeping up with the frantic pace of a Twitter chat (something many of us can relate to!), I hope it wasn’t too daunting that they won’t try it again soon. As health consumers, and educated, passionate ones at that, we look to the FDA to keep us safe and informed. It was wonderful to have them at the table and share what information they could. Please check out the awesome recap that Tayla wrote yesterday after the chat. She did an excellent job of highlighting the chronology of the chat and some of the key participants as well as explain how the FDA plans to regulate these apps. –Amanda

Jump to Tayla’s Storify Recap!


The iPad and Your Health (Activism)

Today’s post on Health Technology is written by WEGO Health intern Tayla Holman (Welcome, Tayla!). Tayla’s post zeros-in on the tablet phenomenon (particularly, the iPad) and how the shiny magazine-sized pieces of technology are sliding their way into our healthcare. Whether you have your own iPad or, like me, still covet one – the use of tablets are changing healthcare in a way that will begin to influence all of us. Check out Tayla’s thoughts on how the iPad is changing the health sphere. As you read, keep in mind your own health community – have conversations about tablets or apps come up? (Don’t miss our Apps & Activism Webinar next Monday 6/27- to learn a lot more!) Have you begun to manage your health with apps or are you waiting for the tablet market to diversify a bit more? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we, as Health Activists, bring the iPad-for-health conversation back to our communities with all the excitement, healthy skepticism, and curiosity we bring to our leadership? –Amanda

The iPad and Your Health

by Tayla Holman

Once again, Apple has changed the game.

It’s clichéd, but true. With the release of the original iPad, and now the iPad 2, came an onslaught of new apps, many of which were in the medical category. Some are even free, or at least relatively cheap. There are dozens, if not more, websites dedicated to the best medical apps for the iPad, and many doctors are incorporating the tablet into their interactions with patients.

Let’s take a look at three ways the iPad is revolutionizing health care.

iPads are playing an increasingly large role in exam and surgery rooms:

Doctors are using iPads to show patients what they may look like after reconstructive surgery, and to show them radiographs of their injuries. The iPad also allows doctors to have all of their patients’ information in one place, instead of having to get a different chart every time they enter an exam room. Apparently it can even take X-rays through clothes! Cool, but kind of creepy.

Doctors have been quick to embrace the iPad and what it can do for them and their patients.  Dr. Richard Watson, an emergency room physician at MetroSouth said that the use of the iPad for electronic health records (EHR) spread “like wildfire.” The Loyola University Medical Center has even given iPads to its orthopedic residents. There’s no doubt that other hospitals will adopt this practice if they haven’t already.

Take control of your own health:

With the availability of medical record, drug interaction, and symptom checker apps, it is much easier to take control of your own health. While an app can’t – and shouldn’t – replace getting professional medical attention, it can be helpful for keeping track of medications, records, and lab reports. Having that information close at hand is just one step to being an informed and empowered health activist or patient.

There are so many different apps that you let you keep entire medical histories, not just for yourself, but for your family members as well.  With one of these apps, you never have to worry about if different medications have a negative interaction or what dosages to take. This is especially helpful for people who are caregivers or who take several medications and need to keep track of that information on a daily basis.

Keep in touch with your health community on the go:

Imagine sitting in a waiting room at your doctor’s office, and flipping through a magazine with an interesting article. The article gets you thinking, and you can’t wait to get home and write about it. But you remember – “I brought my iPad today!” – and get your blog post (on your WEGO Health page, of course) done before you’ve even had your temperature taken. You share the post on Twitter and Facebook and in the time it takes to get your weight and height checked, you’ve already received several comments.

Or perhaps you want to share news with one of your health communities once you’ve left an appointment. Some smart phones just aren’t convenient for heavy-duty writing, but the iPad is. Or you might be like Alicia Stanley and make it a “mission to find the best apps for patients and health activists.”

How else do you use an iPad for healthcare? Do you see it is a negative or positive that this technology is radically changing the medical field?


What Do You Wish Technology Could Give You?

What will toy doctor kits of the future look like?

The health technology world seems to grow leaps and bounds by the day but – our ever-evolving imaginations grow along with it. “That’s nice,” we tell our smart phones, laptops, and other devices, “but I want my technology to do even more.” Or, at least for this prompt we will say that.

If a new technological advance could give you anything – what would it be?

Invent a new piece of health technology that manages, treats, alters, or just improves an aspect of your health (or lifestyle) and be as creative as you can. How will this technology influence your community or the greater world overall? If you have some mechanical know-how – attempt to construct the technology using ideas you already have and implement your wishes for improvement. What do you call this piece of technology?

Bring this prompt over to Twitter and tell us:

What do you wish technology could give you?

What piece of technology would you invent (use the #FTTJune Hashtag), pop over to Facebook and leave a little status there, or write up a quick blog post or discussion in your community to get everyone to put on their inventor’s hats.

Need inspiration? Check out this amazing TED talk all about the newest medical technology that’s on the horizon (it’s seriously incredible) and you may realize that your dream app, device, or technology is already on its way to becoming real…

Health Technology: Apps & Activism Webinar

In honor of our June theme of Health Technology – we’re putting on a webinar event all about health apps. We’ll be discussing how apps are influencing the healthcare world and how they will improve your Health Activism and help your community!

Join us live on Monday, June 27th, at 9pm EST for a conversation with Halle Tecco, founder of seed-accelerator and idea incubator for health apps – Rock Health (@rock_health) – and Ankylosing Spondylitis Health Activist and app enthusiast Kelly Johnston (@Hope4AS)! We’ll discuss the apps that are already out there influencing Health Activism, hear how Kelly is getting into the app world, and Halle will tell us how you can turn your idea for an app into a reality! Let’s get the inside scoop on this new mobile trend together – it’s going to be an exciting event and hopefully we will all learn a lot!

What questions do you have for either of these two app-tastic individuals? Share any questions when you sign up to attend here:


RSVP to “Health Technology: Apps & Activism” Webinar!


We hope to see you and your community members there and on Twitter (as always – tweet with us using #wegowebinar!)



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