New apps keep patients healthy on the road

Keeping your patients healthy can mean not only in the hospital, or at home, but also on the road. The New York Times published a valuable article this week pointing to some interesting apps that patients can use to manage everything from basic healthy eating--crucial for congestive heart failure, diabetes and other chronic diseases--to more clinical management tools.

A couple of lower-tech options caught my eye. One recommendation was to put medical records, summaries and even images, X-rays, medication lists or allergies on a flash drive, mark it with a large red cross to indicate medical information, and then attach it to a keychain or piece of jewelry. Another suggested patients who've had surgery should use drawMD for the iPad to draw the location of a stent or other implanted device or bypass.

Both of these option require medical practitioners to be a bit tech savvy--to recognize and read the digital information--but its' a huge step up from having to remember and translate a complicated medical history.

On the app side, patients can take advantage of functions in apps like Glucose Buddy or GluCoMo to track time zone changes, to ensure they're reminded to take their medications at the right time, no matter where they are, the report added.

Robert Glatter, a physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, told the Times that patients should load up the Emergency Medical Center Locator, a free iPhone app that can check for 2,400 hospitals in more than 100 countries.

A bit more mundane, but certainly crucial for chronic patients, could be Eat Well Global's new app, which has country guides available for $2.99 for iPhones and Android--giving advice on where to find healthy alternatives for different conditions in different countries.

Keeping track of allergenic foods, too, is easier these days with apps like AllergyEats, which can help patients find restaurants that are "allergy-friendly" or serve meals for allergic diners.

One welcome note in the Times story: Bags that hold medical devices such as glucose monitors, pumps and other items should not count toward a traveler's baggage quota. - Sara