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8 Best Apps for Patient Self-Care

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Many mobile phone users download health apps to assist with personal health goals. Nurses could use this to their advantage when helping patients with self-care topics. Here are a few of the best health-related apps you should know about it.

8 Best Apps for Patient Self-Care

According to a New York University School of Medicine study of 1,604 mobile phone users in the U.S., over half (58%) downloaded at least one health-related mobile phone app. The most popular categories of apps were fitness and nutrition, with users accessing these apps daily for self-care management.

What does this mean for your nursing practice?

Nurses must be aware of this trend. Your job hinges upon educating patients about important self-care behaviors that will keep them healthy and out of the hospital. An article in Nurse Journal reports that patient education must be comprehensive and easily understood because more than 50% of Americans are health care illiterate, meaning they don’t understand the health care information given to them or what to do with it.

This is where the mobile phone app trend can help you and your patients. When you are no longer there to educate, these apps can help your patients remember, search, track, and learn about their illness to better manage at home.

Glucose Buddy for Diabetics

This app has been ranked the #1 diabetes app for over 9 years and allows the user to track blood sugar, medication management, and Hemoglobin A1C results. Glucose Buddy can also track carb intake through the food database, weight, insulin, blood pressure, and provides daily and long-term trends. It integrates with the Apple Health App and has the option of purchasing premium features.

Clinical Trial Seek for Cancer Research Studies

If you have a cancer patient seeking to enroll in a clinical trial in the U.S. for their cancer care, Clinical Trial Seek is just the app. It allows them to search by location to find studies in their area and by cancer type, clinical trial phase, study sponsor, and inclusion criteria to see the trial that is right for them.

CDC App for Flu Season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has several apps that can help just about any patient with self-care activities. A popular one for this time of year is the FluView Interactive app gives the latest flu outbreak data to keep your patients safe during the flu season. Click here for a full list of general public CDC health apps available on iOS and Android.  

WebMD App for Overall Wellness

Just about every patient uses WebMD to check symptoms. But, did you know that you can point your patients in the direction of the WebMD app to help with healthy living including a physician directory, pill identifier, medication reminder, and the ever-popular symptom checker for when they’re on-the-go? This app is highly rated by users and available in the Apple Store, Google Play Store, and on Amazon.

What to Expect Pregnancy and Baby Tracker for Future Moms

Just like the book, the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” app is chock full of details about exactly where your patient is in their pregnancy and offers week-by-week videos showing the development of their baby. It also has loads of general pregnancy information including tips for nutrition, exercise, and how to prepare for labor.

Mango App for Tracking Self-Care Habits

If you’re looking for a general health app to help patients with medication management and creation of health habits, check out Mango Health. Patients can track their weight, medication compliance, and even get regular reminders to help with self-care behaviors.

SmartBP App for Healthy Hearts

Many patients could benefit from an app that helps with blood pressure management and tracks progress towards healthy heart goals. SmartBP uses an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to record, track, analyze, and share blood pressure readings. It connects with Apple Health to keep all health information at the patient’s fingertips.

Saebo VR for Stroke Recovery

Many stroke patients need assistance with activities of daily living after having a stroke. The  SaeboVR app was designed to engage patients in physical and cognitive rehab to simulate everyday tasks. It uses a virtual assistant to offer guidance when performing self-care activities with the affected extremity like picking up transferring, or picking up and manipulating objects. Sample activities include grocery shopping, preparing breakfast, and putting away clothes.

Do you have a go-to patient app that you recommend? Comment below and let us know the name of the app, the population of patients you use the app for, and why you like it.



Melissa is a Quality Assurance Nurse, professor, writer, and business owner. She has been a nurse for over 20 years and enjoys combining her nursing knowledge and passion for the written word. You can see more of her work at www.melissamills.net.

83 Likes, 6 Followers, 86 Articles, 18,987 Visitors, and 235 Posts.

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I have several patients that you a medication reminder app and I encourage all my pts with smart phones to keep an up to date med list in their phone. 

My pts are all on at least 5 meds and many are on 20+ unfortunately. This has been a real lifesaver - reallly!

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Nice article— it’s a good overview of health apps that can assist with a variety  of self-care needs.

However, the BEST app I’ve found for medication self-management is CareZone.

The reviews complain of ads.... but they aren’t normal ads, just occasional pop-ups from the “CareZone Team” about their mail-order pharmacy, and timed-dose pill-packs. You can close the pop up immediately, so I just ignore it... takes like a millisecond to hit the X in the corner. 

But for keeping a current med list and setting dose and refill reminders.... nothing else is better. 

Entering meds is as easy as taking pics with your phone or tablet, and the app is smart enough to populate the appropriate fields in your med list. Just take photos of the Rx or OTC label and it does the rest. You look over the info that was imported, and edit or complete fields as necessary, set the exact times for doses, then hit OK. 

Thats it. It can also store a photo of insurance cards, FSA cards/account info, & has BP and other info tracking. It is also password or fingerprint/Face ID enabled. Another good feature is the ability to enter profiles for more than one patient—- so a parent could have profiles for each of their children, or a spouse could have a profile for themselves and their so.

I have no connection to the app or it’s developers, or their pharmacy. 😉 It’s simply the best app out there (and I have tried upwards of a dozen or more) to manage the 15+ meds I must take everyday to stay alive.

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