A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Got health goals? There’s an app for that

Health care app on a cell phone - Apps for health goals

Apps can help you track exercise and monitor calories. Be sure to experiment and find the ones that work best for your lifestyle.

With the rise of smart phones, tablets and other smart devices have come apps people can use to monitor their health and manage their care without stepping foot inside a clinic. Technology has also provided apps that make providers’ lives easier.

Kelly Ross Tokarski, an advanced nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator in endocrinology at Marshfield Clinic, said she uses an app called UptoDate, which provides “evidence-based, physician-authored clinical decision support,” according to the app’s website.

For patients, there are several apps Tokarski likes to recommend.

  • GoodRx: This app helps locate discounts on medications in a patient’s area. Simply enter the drug name and your location, and GoodRx searches for the lowest price at which you can find that drug.
  • CalorieKing: If you’re looking to shed a few pounds or just monitor your diet, Tokarski says CalorieKing could be for you. “It can provide nutritional information for patients so they can make better decisions about what they’re eating,” she said.
  • MyFitnessPal: This app allows you to track your food intake as well as your physical activity.
  • Fooducate: This app helps you monitor calories but also goes beyond that to show you the nutritional value of the foods you eat.

I also encourage patients to go out and search for apps that might be a good fit for them, personally,” Tokarski said. “A lot of times there are specific apps that could really benefit people in a certain situation or with a certain condition.”

To pick the right app(s) for you, Tokarski said you need to know where you want to start, whether that is tracking calories, measuring carbohydrate intake or logging exercise. She said health-related apps are a positive thing for patients.

“It’s all about getting people to participate in creating a healthier lifestyle for themselves,” she said. “Any tool that helps that process is a good thing.”

Tokarski said she thinks apps will become more useful in assisting with behavioral change as technology continues to evolve.

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