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Using smartphones and tablets to stay healthy

by David Needle

October 16 2013

With Pictrition keeping track of what you eat doesn't have to be a chore.
With Pictrition keeping track of what you eat doesn't have to be a chore.

Can a mobile device help you stay healthy? There are plenty of apps to motivate and help you track your fitness routines and what you eat. 

And the market is heating up. New apps even claim to help you hear better, simplify access to your medical records and keep track of what you eat in a fun way.

Hello Doctor is one of several health-related apps showcased at the DEMO conference earlier today.

The free app, now available in Apple’s App Store, is designed to give you easy access to your medical records on an iPad by storing a complete view of your current and past medical record as well as tools to help you understand what the charts and other medical info means. 


“Instead of walking to your doctor with a binder full of your medical records, you can walk in with your tablet and show your previous medical results,” said the company’s CEO and founder Maayan Cohen. 

In addition to organizing electronic medical records from different hospitals, Hello Doctor will also format scans of printouts if all you have is hard copy of your medical records.

Even though medical facilities are finally getting into the digital age, Cohen says the need for Hello Doctor will continue to grow because it’s designed to helps patients organize and understand records from different departments and hospitals. “We had a patient who had to use four different portals in the same hospital,” she said.

(Stay on top of the latest trends and revews of healthcare apps by subscribing to TabTimes free Tablets in Healthcare newsletter)

Crowdsourcing weight loss

Food journals are nothing new, but Loop Health, the company behind Pictrition, has a new twist on the idea.

“We want to turn weight loss into a fun game,” says Looped Health cofounder Taylor Pechacek.

Rather than keep a detailed journal, you can simply take a snapshot of the meal you’re eating and, optionally, write a brief description, but you don’t have to get more detailed like estimate calories.

The information can, at your discretion, be shared anonymously with the online Pictrition community and you get a crowd-sourced rating of how healthy it is. Three simple buttons, Bad, Okay, Good, let you rate an entry.

You earn points for eating healthy as a way to track your progress.

Pechacek says that American Journal of Preventative Medicine rates food journals as the most effective way to achieve weight loss; Loop Health just wants to make the process less of a chore and more fun.

Can you hear me now?

RealClarity by Soundfest is designed to help the 40 million + people in the U.S. who have some kind of hearing loss, but don’t currently use a hearing aid.

Due out in December, the $29.99 app for Android and iOS is designed to help you better understand what someone is saying in a noisy environment like a restaurant or a train station.

The company says RealClarity uses the smartphone to help filter out distracting noises while clarifying the voice you want to hear.  

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley
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