Saturday 28 May 2016

Health Digital Check-Up: Wellness on the Web

We’ve probably all heard the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nowhere is this concept more accurate than with our own health. Sadly, the healthcare system in the U.S. is primarily set up to detect and treat sickness, not to maintain wellness or prevent disease. Increasingly though, engaged consumers have turned to the internet seeking answers to their health and wellness-related questions. According to findings from the recently released Pew Internet Project, searching for health information is the third most popular online activity.

While the Web is a vast and rich information repository, searching for relevant and trustworthy information about health and wellness can be daunting, even for those of us working in the health industry.

Luckily, there is a growing amount of smart phone, Web-based and tablet apps that can help to keep us healthy. There are thousands of free and low cost apps dealing with topics ranging from tips for stress management to tools to help us track what we eat and how much we exercise. There is even an app that provides mental health assessments to help users determine if the sadness they are feeling is just a mild case of the blues, or something more serious that requires the assistance of a therapist.

With that in mind, here are a few apps and services out there designed to make the digital wellness quest easier.

Sharecare

Savvy entrepreneurs like Jeff Arnold, Chairman of Sharecare, are working to make our search just a little easier. Combining well-known health experts such as Dr. Oz, with trusted information from sources such as The American Cancer Society and the power of social media, Sharecare is providing consumers with the tools they need to make better health-related choices and live healthier lives. But making these lifestyle changes is not always easy. Sharecare’s experts are doing their best to provide online guidance and coaching—a virtual health team—by answering a library full of questions on topics ranging from weight loss to preventing heart disease.

Wellness Tip of the Day

Wellness Tip of the Day provides easy-to-follow wellness tips from the physicians at Cleveland Clinic. Favorites can easily be saved and you can even email your favorite “Food Tips,” “Body Tips” or “Mind Tips” to family and friends.

Live Happy

Live Happy boasts itself as a “happiness boosting positive psychology program” based on Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness. The book draws upon Dr. Lyubormirsky’s 18 years of research at the University of California Riverside.

Fitlab

Fitlab, a “smart web-based health club,” provides personalized workouts tailored to each individual’s lifestyle. The site includes calculators to track fitness goals and progress.

Don’t Eat At

For those of you who live in or travel to New York and like to eat out, here’s a must have tool that may just save you a trip to ER or at the very least prevent some serious stomach issues. Appropriately called Don’t Eat At, the site allows you to check in via Foursquare and tells you if the restaurant is among the 1,660 eateries in the Big Apple with 28 or more health code violations that have not yet been shut down. As the site so pointedly asks, “Do you really want to eat at a place like that?”

Image credit: wmliu


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