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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Feb 5 2012   10:00PM GMT

AMA offers free health and fitness app

Posted by: RedaChouffani
AMA, Apps, mhealth, mHealth applications

On Jan. 30, 2012, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a mobile app called Weigh What Matters. Available for multiple platforms (Android, iPhone and iPad), the app is just one initiative in the family obesity prevention program.

The purpose of the app is to help patients track their progress toward a healthier lifestyle. Health and fitness apps have become very popular and continue to grow amongst consumers.But in order to truly have more aggressive adoption rates, it would require some additional functionalities, offerings and overall innovation to truly spur patient engagement.

There are four key areas that health and fitness apps need to include in order to provide real value to users:

  • Incentives for the use of the app: Health and fitness apps will see more use if payers could reward their members for the use of the app. This could be a reduction in premium costs when the users are actively using the app to track their healthier lifestyle. This is somewhat similar to the idea of having a GPS device in a car, which provides driving habits reports to the insurance companies and in return the consumer gets lower car insurance premiums for better and safer driving.
  • Connectivity to your care provider: While some apps provide access to reports and stats on the device, it is somewhat challenging in many cases to submit that data and then share it with a health provider.This type of real-time data sharing will enable physicians to send real-time feedback to patients.
  • Ability to collect and manage data from different sources: Patients with different conditions have different needs and require different sets of health data to be monitored.Some of Apps will need to track patient’s consumed calories, and food in take, others patients will have the app track their vitals, record reactions to medication, mood changes, and glucose levels.
  • PHR management: More and more patients are finding value in managing their own health records.And as more health apps come to market, they will need to have the ability to connect and push collected data to the different PHR providers.

The AMA has been able to provide a useful tool to consumers for free via the new app, which will help track patients’ activities as well as eating habits.This free app is a valuable tool to primary care physicians as well, who can offer it to their patients as part of their care plan and health coaching to help ensure they reach their goals.

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