7 Best Mobile Apps to Transform Your

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May 18, 2015
By Joseph Strongoli, Contributing Columnist

The technology boom is rapidly changing the way we do everything.
Or, given the direction in which we’re headed, maybe it’s more apt to
say that technology is changing the way everything is done for us.
Perhaps the most promising arena in which technology can play a
transformative role is in medicine and health.

Today there are over 40,000 mobile health applications across various
platforms. From receiving text message reminder alerts to attend a
doctor’s appointment or to take a pill, to programs that count calories,
organize diets, monitor blood pressure, heart rate, electrocardiograph
(ECG) signals and insulin levels, to those that measure BMI, monitor
sleep apnea, or track exercise routines, you can surely find an app to fit
your needs. According to a new study by the Consumer Electronics
Association, in the coming year nearly 40 % of online consumers plan
to purchase exercise technology alone, such as GPS pedometers that
track your footsteps.

But health apps aren’t just a luxury item for the uber-health conscious;
they have real, practical medical benefits. A 2012 study at the
Brookings Institution by Dr. Darell West found that sixteen percent of
nurses relying upon handheld devices reported that the mobile
equipment had helped them to avoid at least one error in clinical

A 2010 study at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences by Dr.
L. Dayer et al., finds that medication nonadherence, or skipping your
meds, therapy, or treatments, is a common health care problem. The
study found that poor adherence causes 33% to 69% of medication-
related hospitalizations and accounts for $100 billion in annual health-
care costs. The current average rate of adherence to chronic
medication therapy is only 50%. The study’s recommendation for
improving medication adherence? Apps: “[apps are] constantly
accessible, involve and educate the patient, and can consolidate all of
the user’s medication-specific information, and thereby provide a more
streamlined process to educate the individual about his/her disease or

Dr. Dayer enumerated some of the versatile utilities that apps can have:
“features include reminders that can be set for consumption and refills,
doses that can be logged, data logs that can be accessed by patients or
uploaded to care providers, and medication information, such as
dosages, adverse effects, toxicities, specialized provider notes, all of
which can be accessed at the touch of a finger.”

Dr. Dayer even went so far as to suggest that apps might actually be
prescribed in the future: “During the next decade, providers and payers
may be looking to the app market to improve patient care and
outcomes, as apps may be ‘medically prescribed’. For example, hospital
systems in the NYC area are allowing physicians to prescribe health-
oriented apps, and in the foreseeable future, payers may begin
covering a diabetes care app that has been proven effective in
mitigating nonadherence in a clinical trial setting.”

The future of healthcare is here. These are the 7 best mobile apps to
transform your health:


Tinke uses optical sensing technologies to non-invasively measure
blood volume simply from your fingertips. The app then uses this data
to track your heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen levels, all
good things to know to
lower stress and increase overall wellness
through breathing. You are then able to monitor the trends in your
data in a journal or statistical format, which you can download for
personal recordings. The app also shows how your measurements
compare with other users based on selectable age groups and gender.
Tinke is free and is supported by iOS and Android.


INRFOOD is a neat app that helps keep your dietary regimen in order
when faced with the dizzying sea of choices at the grocery store.
According to the Developer’s Description, “we live in a society where
food has become more chemistry than biology. Consumers are often
confronted with ingredients that they have never heard of and can’t
even pronounce.” Basically, INRFOOD allows you to scan a product and
color-code ingredients to determine whether they should be avoided,
consumed in moderation, or if they are nutritious. You can also
customize the app to flag certain foods not suitable for allergies,
pregnancy, kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan and more. The full app
costs $2.99 and is available on the iPhone and iPad.


This app can save you from a hangover, a DUI, or worse. The
Breathometer app connects with Breeze, a portable, wearable
breathalyzer that helps you keep your booze under control. The app
measures your blood alcohol content (BAC), and even tells you when
you will be ‘Back to Zero’, aka sober! Other features include location-
based links to services such as Uber, taxi companies, local hotels, and

You can also access their BAC level history, giving them insight into
how alcohol affects you over time. The app is supported by iOS and
Android, and it is free, although you will have to buy the breathalyzer,
which costs 90$. Pricey, but worth it to stay safe while drinking!


The Fitnet app claims to be your New Year’s solution with 200+ free
fitness workout videos, along with live webcam scoring of your
workout and heart rate monitoring. The videos in their selection range
from Yoga to Tai Chi, from strength and weightlifting to cardio
workouts. Jumpstart your gym routine with a mobile library of workout
expertise! The app is free and is supported by iOS and Android.

Carrot Fit

This app is not for the faint of heart. With Carrot Fit, you can now carry
a portable drill sergeant in your pocket to motivate you to lose weight.
The Carrot character in the app is a judgmental weight tracker, and will
dole out harsh criticisms to slackers. Through stinging sarcasm and
motivational trash talk, users must lose pounds to unlock new workout
tips. The cost is $2.99 and is available for iOS.


This app reminds you that your daily movements add up to burn
calories – that is, if you do in fact get off the couch! A pedometer with
GPS tracking, Moves tracks your daily movements, minute by minute,
and gives you a summary of all the steps, stairs, hops, skips, and
jumps, and even pedals. It then calculates the calories you burned and
presents it in a timeline to show you when your highest and lowest
periods of calorie burning were throughout the day. Moves is free on

Inner Balance

The Inner Balance app is powered by and works exclusively with the
HeartMath sensor for iOS. A small module attaches to your device and
connects a sensor to your earlobe, where it measures heart-rate
variability (HRV), the beat-to-beat changes within heart rhythms that
reflect emotional fluctuations, and thereby guides users to shift their
heart rhythms to "heart coherence".

Coherence is directly associated with improved health, cognitive
functioning, and a deeper sense of inner balance and happiness. Inner
Balance then assists the user with real-time feedback to calm the mind
and emotions. Users learn to shift focus from objects of anxiety or
stress with unique breathing pacers, on-screen coaching, and
specialized techniques. As the session advances, Inner Balance helps
the user reduce stress and increase balance and clarity. The app is free,
but the sensor is $99. Inner Balance is available on iOS only.

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