There is a snowballing effect happening in wellness. We are experiencing a health care crisis as more and more baby boomers overload the health care system, we are seeing an increasing government, corporate and individual focus on the prevention of disease, and we are utilizing new technologies that can motivate consumers to tackle their personal health and wellness issues through the convenience of on-line and mobile apps.
These apps can help people reach their health goals, track their symptoms and provide quick and reliable advice. It is no surprise that these apps targeting health and wellness are becoming more popular and abundant with each passing month. The eHealth Strategy Office at the University of British Columbia, reported that at the end of 2013 there were more than 40,000 of these types of mobile apps available.
According to the Sun Life-Buffett National Wellness Survey, 24% of Canadian employers say work-related stress and sedentary lifestyles are the top major health risks affecting their employees. It is no wonder then, that social media and mobile apps are gaining appeal in companies that offer wellness programs to their employees.
Many EAPs and insurance companies have taken to developing their own integrated health and wellness apps. These can be an efficient way to get health and wellness information out to employees. However, employers need to think about how many apps to include in their suite of solutions, how to integrate the data, what does the reporting look like, how do you encourage participation and to make sure it is fair to groups who are not as tech savvy.
If developing your own corporate health apps is cost prohibitive, there are many apps that are easy to use, safe, effective, maintain privacy and are free or low cost available already. Here are some of the top recommended apps, with various health and wellness focuses, that may be beneficial to your team members if a corporate sponsored app is not in your near future.
10,000 steps a day. Most of our employees carry smartphones in their pocket or on their belt. The built-in accelerometer or the GPS transforms your mobile phone into a pedometer that tracks how far you walk.
Mobile apps can help measure how many calories eaten each day. All of these apps require some type of manual data entry, so you need to use these apps religiously to track your information accurately.
The free WebMD mobile app is a comprehensive health app with features such as a Symptom Checker, which can provide insights about your medical symptoms, or information about first aid that can be useful if you encounter an injury while exercising.
Whether you are taking a daily multivitamin or a medication for the treatment of a chronic condition, pill-reminding apps can help you remember.
White Noise Lite
White noise can drown out distracting sounds so that you can relax. Whether you are traveling or simply need background white noise at home, the White Noise Lite app will give you the white noise you need. This app may also help you if you find yourself having trouble falling asleep or waking up frequently due to sound distractions.
Helps users find out what’s really happening while they sleep. The app offers users an alarm cycle, movement tracker, sound recorder, sleep debt log, analysis of the data and trend graphs.
Pollen.com Allergy Alert
This app provides index levels for four different conditions: Allergy (Pollen), Asthma, Cold and Cough, and Ultraviolet Sensitivity. You can plan your day with the One Day Alerts or think about your whole week with the Four Day Forecasts.
Find Me Gluten Free
This app helps you locate gluten-free friendly restaurants and markets. Peruse ratings and reviews, menus, allergen lists, and more directly from the app.
Instant Heart Rate
This app uses a user’s built-in camera to track color changes on the fingertip, which indicates the user’s heart rate. The data from heart rate measures is graphed for the user to see trends in his or her heart rate information.
This app allows you to track the severity, times, and settings where you experience headaches. You can also provide detailed information to your doctor to assist with potential options for treatment.
An Canadian-developed anxiety tool that offers strategies to assist in regaining control over your thoughts and fears. Specific tools are included to deal with perfectionism, conflict, worry and panic.
Depressioncheck can help you keep important information your doctor needs to diagnose your condition. This user-friendly app asks you specific questions about your mental health over the last two weeks. When you’ve completed the test, you get a score along with other important information to share with your doctor. This medically backed app is credited with helping patients seek help for major depressive disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder.
Depression Inventory is an android app that helps determine if your current treatment plan is working. The app consists of a weekly test that tracks whether symptoms have improved, worsened, or stayed the same. A tracking interface also provides a clear picture as to how far you’ve come in your treatment plan.
Pain & Depression Relief
Pain & Depression Relief focuses on solving sleep problems to facilitate the management of depression symptoms. The system lures you to sleep with binaural entrainment. The frequency tuning method increases waves in the brain that lure you to sleep without the need for headphones.
Health Through Breath
Handle stress better with the help of the Health Through Breath app which focuses on breathing techniques inspired by meditation exercises. It lets you choose a level from beginner to advanced, and you can even customize your own 15-minute breathing exercises as you learn what works best for you.
For office employees sitting at their desk all day, sedentary work can cramp muscles and staring at a computer screen too long can cause eye strain. Employers can remind employees to take stretch breaks by building reminders into the network, such as having a reminder pop-up on their computer. On the app side, HotSeat challenges people to get out of their seats for small breaks. It includes competitions, and feedback on how your small bouts of physical activity add up to meaningful amounts.
21habit lets you break or make a habit and keep track of it for 21 days. When you sign up, you get a choice of a free mode or committed mode. The free mode has no monetary obligations while the committed mode requires that you invest $21 in your habit. For each day that you succeed, you’ll get $1 back and each time you fail, the $1 goes to charity.
Social Workout is the perfect app if you want to socially set goals for groups or individuals. You can set up a goal for any activity and start a group challenge or challenge a friend. It integrates seamlessly with Facebook, sends you witty email reminders to keep you motivated and lets you access the app through your mobile when on the go.
The flood of new mobile and other healthcare technologies, that help consumers take more of an active role in their level of wellness, will continue to explode. Studies already show that 78% of consumers are interested in mobile health-wellness-fitness solutions and that medical fitness health care apps are the third fastest, growing category for iPhone and Android phones. It is predicted that sports, fitness and wellness apps will grow from 154 million downloads in 2010 to 908 million by 2016 and that the number of wearable wireless “gadgets” will grow from 8 million to 72 million over that same period. Having mobile wellness information, programs and support will be an important part of company’s wellness offerings. Now is the time to start integrating these strategies into your corporate plan.
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