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Mobile health apps: Helping your doctor help you

(NC) You can’t sleep. Or your migraines seem to be getting more frequent and last longer. Maybe your blood pressure is not well controlled. Or you’re in danger of developing type two diabetes.

You need help. Fortunately, there’s technology out there that can help you and your doctor work together to manage these common chronic conditions. Mobile health apps can give you the knowledge and tools to make healthy life choices. These apps can also help you monitor your condition and share information with your doctor.

The catch is, there are 165,000 health-related apps on the market. The vast majority have not been created by healthcare experts. How do you choose?

Enter PracticalApps.ca, a new website from the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). The website, a collaboration with the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV), reviews commonly available mobile health apps.

Designed to offer doctors – and patients – a critical look at apps designed for chronic conditions, PracticalApps.ca is free and available to anyone. The reviews are conducted by family doctors who rate the apps for clinical validity, usability, privacy and security, accessibility, safety, and reliability.

“OTN’s Telehomecare program has, for years, pioneered virtual community health care by bringing remote monitoring for chronic conditions right to the patient’s home,” says Dr. Ed Brown, chief executive officer, OTN. “PracticalApps.ca is the next logical step.

“The support that patients need to self-manage chronic conditions is already in their pocket or purse. We know patients are ready to use that familiar technology. Through PracticalApps.ca, we’re helping doctors help their patients self-manage and monitor their health wherever they are, using their phone or tablet.”