Technology has proven itself useful in many areas of human healing, including addiction recovery. While they not to be used as a replacement for treatment, several iPhone apps can be a handy means of support for someone right when it is needed most.
Pocket Sponsor The Pocket Sponsor is an iPod application that offers wisdom, inspiration, and hope. Daily support alerts arrive automatically, but the user can also read additional support messages with a simple tap of the screen. The app provides 31 days of unique morning and evening routines that develop emotional stability and calm. These routines involve meditations, positive mantras, and supportive messages that can be used throughout the day. There will be times when the addict cannot reach a sponsor or other trusted support person, but the Pocket Sponsor will be there day and night.
This iPhone app provides three separate features. First, it allows the user to track his or her recovery with journals and charts that document accomplishments, challenges, triggers, and time spent sober. For many users, the ability to document there feelings in a readily available journal provides great motivation. The second feature is “One Day at a Time.” Users can use these daily messages to build unique recovery programs based on which messages speak to their hearts. The final aspect of iPromises is the Geo-Positioning feature. The iPhone’s built in GPS makes finding a nearby meeting easy.
12 Step Programs Ann-e creates several apps designed to help addicts stay connected to others who understand their struggles. An application exists for all 12 step programs, broadening the sphere of support beyond individuals to reach the entire recovery community. The app offers tree types of communication, including anonymous peer-to-peer instant messaging, connecting anonymous users by phone with conference bridges, and facilitating personal meetings between trusted peers.
Guided Mediation Apps There are numerous apps for the iPhone that assist in guided meditations, an important part of maintaining a calm mind during recovery. Apps generally provide various themes such as “Mindfulness” or “Being Happy” with multiple sessions ranging from 2 to 20 minutes. Those in recovery can download a single meditation or acquire a small collection to find those most useful in stress management.
Cognitive Therapy Apps Cognitive therapy helps addicts reprogram their negative thoughts and behaviors to create a more positive mindset going forward. These apps typically include a journal for users to write down negative thoughts and behaviors as they notice them. They can then notice patterns of thought and behavior that can be corrected and improved. The journal is also helpful during therapy sessions, allowing the user to more readily communicate issues with the therapist. Unlike a traditional notebook, the cognitive therapy apps have locks to protect the user’s privacy.
Jessica Bosari writes for TherapistSchools.com, a site that helps students find the right therapy education, whether they seek behavioral, physical or addiction therapy schools.
Technology available for the iPhone can be a boon for occupational therapists and their patients. But with Apple supporting over 140,000 applications, how can you wade through the trash to find the treasure? We have put together a list of the five best apps available for the iPhone that can be of tremendous value to therapists, doctors, and patients.
MedAlert – $0.99
This app is perfect for anyone who has trouble remembering to take their medications due to ADHD, the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, or simple forgetfulness. Fully programmable and customizable, you can input the drug name, patient, and the dosing schedule for multiple users. When it’s time for medication, the iPhone will alert the user. Therapists can recommend this app to patients who they suspect are missing doses, even if they will not admit it. This happens most often with elderly Alzheimer’s patients who try to avoid letting their symptoms show for fear of being taken from the home setting. Setting up this app for a patent allows them a greater sense of security and personal dignity in a difficult situation. The app is designed to be easy to use to avoid overwhelming the patient with new technology.
SoundAMP – Price Varies By Features
Not everyone with hearing loss is ready for hearing aids, but many still need help with clarity in certain situations, such as crowded areas. This app helps the hearing impaired by letting them record and playback. It also offers sound magnification, which is an excellent substitute to hold patients over until they can replace a lost hearing aid or dead battery. Therapists can suggest this app to anyone suffering from an auditory processing disorder or hearing problems.
Locabulary – Free
People who are deaf, stutter, or otherwise have difficulties speaking may benefit from this free app. It helps them communicate when they need assistance, instructions, or need to make simple statements. Through a menu of customizable simple phrases, the patient can tap the appropriate phrase and the app will speak on the patient’s behalf. The patient can also input the phrase to speak, making communication easier for the patient wherever he or she may go.
This is already included with the new iPhone 3GS. This feature, available in 21 languages, speaks aloud to tell the user what each button or option on the screen will do. The patient need only touch the button to hear the function. This is great for anyone with vision problems, and also works with text input.
Islet Diabetes Assistant- $2.99
Therapists can recommend this handy app for anyone with diabetes, especially for the newly-diagnosed. This program allows the user to enter their blood sugar levels, insulin dosage, exercise, and carbohydrate intake. The results are then placed on a graph that can be shared with healthcare professionals. This method is far better than keeping hand-written logs or making unreliable guesses.
Jessica Bosari writes for TherapistSchools.com, a site that offers tips and advice for becoming a therapist and finding the best Occupational Therapist Schools. The site also helps students in other therapy fields such as Child and Addiction Therapies.
Patient privacy is an area in which medical professionals are obligated to protect. It is vital to any health care organization that the patient’s private information is safe and secure. Patients trust health care organizations with some of their most private information and have confidence in the organization that their information will not be shared with other individuals or organizations. Health care professionals are trained to handle the information and protect each individual patient that they assist. With the creation of such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter, health care professionals are starting to discuss work related issues on the internet. This is one area that is starting to become more of a problem than most people realized. Social networking sites are a way for individuals to connect all over the world and almost anyone can have access to the information that is shared on social networking profiles.
Most everyone in the United States are using social networking sites to reach out to family, friends, co-workers, and other professionals. These social networking sites have grown to be a part of our daily lives and we are using them for work and personal gains. Medical professionals and students are starting to use these social networking sites to post pictures and statuses of their everyday life. These pictures and statuses are on their personal profiles, but can contain information from other people’s life. Many students feel they are entitled to post what they wish on their personal profiles, maintaining that the information is in fact personal and not subject to the same policies and guidelines that govern their professional behavior on campus (Park, 2009). This is becoming more of an issue since medical professionals and students are posting information or pictures from patients they are assisting.
At UCLA, Dr. Parker has assigned a task force, which includes students, to devise guidelines that students can follow when making decisions about what to post and what to keep to themselves. “It’s going to be difficult,” he says. “Most students want us to provide them with education and guidelines, but not policies. It is a different culture; we always say we have to be culture-sensitive to our patients, but we have to be culture-sensitive to our students as well” (Park, 2009). This is a key element in how the future of our nation will be. We will have to adapt to social networking sites and how we interact with other individuals. While social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have bad reputations from some people, it also is there to reach more individuals in a shorter amount of time. Doctors are able to reach out to other doctors from around the world in a matter of seconds. This allows health care professionals to ask questions or get advice from other professionals when they need it the most.
While we adapt to these social networking sites, we also have to be aware of any ethical and legal issues that may arise. It is vital that professionals do not use any of the patient’s personal information or photographs of their face if they do post anything on Facebook or Twitter. If they are reaching out to ask advice or post a picture, they can do so without causing any damage to the patient. Health care professionals have to be aware of the state and federal laws that they could break if they post information about the patient such as name, social security number, address, test results, and etc. Social networking sites can help health care professionals, but it is imperative that the patient’s well-being and trust are honored first. Health care professionals have to respect each patient’s personal information and ensure that they are not posting information related to the patient.
It is essential that supervisors and managers explain the importance of protecting the patient’s personal information. Managers should have meetings with the employees and explain to them how to be professional on social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter. It is vital that each employee understands the significance of the repercussions of their acts if they post patient’s personal information on these social networking sites. Managers should go over the ethical issues that can arise if the professional does post inappropriate information. Managers should also go over the state and federal laws that they must uphold to each patient. Patients can sue the organization and the employee if their information gets posted to social networking sites. There can be many other legal issues that can arise if the organization does not control what is posted on their employee’s social networking profile.
One major solution that can keep health care organizations on top of what their health care professionals post on social networking sites is to have access to their social networking profile. They should be able to see what each employee of the organization posts each day and have it where it is mandatory that each employee allow the organization to see their profile. This can entail having the organization have its own profile page that employees can be friends with. This is a way where the organization can see the employee’s personal page, without violating any of the personal privacy. There should also be rules and regulations that each employee must uphold if the employee chooses to have a social networking profile. It is vital to the organization that each employee that is among the organization understands how to properly use social networking sites.
Health care organizations have to adapt to the changes of the way individuals are interacting with each other. Social networking sites have become a part of everyone’s daily lives and it has raised more challenges for health care organizations to monitor. Health care professionals and students are using the social networking sites to talk about professional information to other individuals. This can be done without causing any problems for the health care organizations or its employees if the social networking sites are monitored and each individual employee knows how to properly use them. It is up to the managers of the health care organizations to explain and set forth rules and regulations when using these social networking sites. These social networking sites can help employees discuss research and other various situations in the health care industry, but it is imperative that they use their best judgment and protect the patient’s personal information when doing so.
Brandon is a junior in college studying in the health care industry field. He already has one degree in Pharmacy Practice and is studying for his second one in Health care information systems. He is the owner of a Lift Kits website that sells Tuff Country Lift Kits. He enjoys school and working on his site, but he does enjoy relaxing more.
So, you have decided to lose those few flabby pounds you’ve gained over the holidays. Good for you! Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to the solution. So let me congratulate you a little further by recommending a little guide that will help you along your path. It’s called “My Fitness Pal” and this app is on both iPhone and Android.
First off let me start by saying that the app is free. Yes, it’s free. Free as in beer. Free is a good thing. And for the quality of this app that is a great thing. Now let me say that this is not a full weight loss coach. You will need some determination and will power to use this app. But congrats for even starting your journey!
Lets get started!
Let’s begin taking a look at this. My overall impressions of the app were great. It’s functional, easy to use, and feature rich. My Fitness Pal really has the potential to help keep you on the proper path. My biggest issue is that ads displayed in the app. It is an Ad supported app, so if this bothers you then you may want to look elsewhere. On a larger screen phone it’s easily ignored but on smaller screens it could take up precious real estate.
So, we start the app and you’re asked if you are a current member or want to register. My Fitness Pal records all of your progress to their website. Since you are reading this I am going to assume that you are a new member. So go ahead and create your account. You’ll enter the standard username and password, email, password, height and weight, sex (yes, is not an option), and lifestyle activity, and so fourth and so on.
The app will also ask for the amount of exercise you get and how much weight you want to lose each week without giving snake oil promises of 30 pounds in two weeks. I appreciated this because proper and healthy weight lose must be achieved with a pound or two a week, not fifty.
I would recommend after entering your profile, and being pushed to the main screen, you have a look around and get the hang of the app. At first it’s slightly confusing, but it grows on you rather quickly. The app is well laid out but throws a lot of info at you quickly.
Have you been naughty or nice?
On the main screen you will find your daily digest of information. This shows many calories you are allowed to eat for the day, how many were taken in by food, exhausted by exercise and what’s left. If you want you can also take a peak at your total nutritional intake for the day. You’ll be presented with a chart that looks very much like the back of food label. I went into information overload the first time I read this. But it’s nice to see what I’m doing with myself. A healthy diet consists of getting the proper nutrients as well, not just limiting calories.
On the same screen you’ll have access to enter information into your daily diary of food and exercise. Simply click the Add to Diary button. From there you can enter food and exercise info. I’ll start with the food. My Fitness Pal breaks your entries into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can search for foods, select recently used items, or select from a custom made food or meal list. If you decide to eat more then carrots for lunch you can also add multiple items as well.
My favorite feature though was the barcode scanner. Not sure what you just ate? It’s OK. We all have those moments. You can scan the barcode with your camera and the app will do it’s best to find the nutritional information via the world wide intermaweb. It doesn’t do a half bad job either.
Now, like I believe I said, I don’t like exercising all that much. It’s not like I don’t like it really, it’s just that I don’t have time. You know, like you do… But anyway, I pretended like I had time, just for you, to try this out. Adding any exercises works much the same way that adding food to your diary does. The only issue is, if you can’t remember what that exercise is called that the guy just taught you in the park that made you bend like a trifold pretzel door, then you’re stuck browsing through every exercise to find the correct information. There is no barcode scanner for that. Sorry.
Your daily diary
Next we go to our daily diary. Here you can see how bad or good you’ve been. A full breakdown of what foods you ate and what exercises you’ve done will be listed here. Basic information like calories eaten, calories burned, and remaining are displayed in this list as well. Access is granted from here, as well, to add to or edit your diary.
And then the last tab. Your progress tab gives you a nice little line graph over a period of time to track progress and goals. It can be somewhat gratifying and self-rewarding to see that line move down. I was impressed that it tracks not only your weight, but your neck, waist, and hip measurements as well. It’s nice to see a little diversity and something extra with this app considering there is so many like it all over the market now.
And last, but not least, is the options tab. Pretty self explanatory. You can change your profile or any of app your settings here.
I suppose it should be mentioned that you can view any of the information online via the account you created when you first started the app. Your daily diary and progress can be tracked there. I never utilized this much because I like the info in my pocket on the go. Also the last thing I want to do is sit and track my weight when I get to work or when I have a few minutes of downtime at home.
Over all I liked the app. It’s well designed and laid out. My Fitness Pal has a few nice features that set it self above other apps, like the barcode scanner. The app is intuitive and easy to use. It’s limited on features though. I would have liked to see more integration online with the app, maybe something with the community or access to the forums, or maybe some social networking integration.
The price is perfect considering it’s free. With it being an ad driven app though you may have issues with screen real estate on smaller devices. Larger screens were not bad. The app is also pretty stable. I didn’t see any force closes on any platforms or devices.
So, would I recommend it? Yes. Counting your calories is a fundamental aspect of weight loss, whether you are on popular diet program (i.e Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Diet to Go, etc) or a self-made diet plan.
Give it a shot and see how you like it. But give it a week or two before you start investing your time heavily recording information with it. Make sure you like the app and it feels fluid to you. If it doesn’t, move on to the next, because after all there are more apps that operate exactly like this one. It’s simple, polished, and easy to use with a couple nice extra features but nothing innovative whatsoever.
Guest author Matthew is a health advocate who is fascinated by how Smartphones have not only improved the way we communicate but also increased the information we have access too. Matthew researches and makes available Nutrisystem discount deals for 2011 and eDiets coupons and discounts, for dieters who want to save on these two proven weight loss programs.
Perhaps you’re an always on the go kind of person with a few flabby pounds you can’t seem to get rid of. Maybe you just want to watch what you eat or you want help maintaining that perfect weight you’re at now. Perhaps you’re just too embarrassed to seek help. Whatever the reason may be, I think I may have something to help with that.
Recently I took a look at an Android app called “Diet and Food Tracker” by Sparkpeople.com. It’s certainly a worthy app for a few minutes of your time. It’s a well-organized and easy to follow diet and health planner.
So what makes this app so interesting? It does more than calorie counting. The developer of this app was nice enough to factor in and encourage a daily dose of exercise as well, which can be a very important part of any health regimen.
Oh, the Settings…
So let’s take a look at the app. Congrats, you decided to take the plunge and download it. It’s easy to find on the android market, and best of all, it’s free! When you start the app you’re greeted with the introduction screen. The app will ask a basic set of questions like your age, weight, health conditions, weight goals, gender, etc. I was impressed that Diet and Food Tracker didn’t set unreasonable goals with snake oil promises of 20 pounds in two weeks. They limit your weight loss from half a pound to two pounds per week. Losing too much weight to fast can be seriously unhealthy, so I appreciated this.
If you need help or want a second place for your data you can also link the app to your Sparkpeople online account, or simply use it standalone. The decision is up to you. In this case I choose standalone. I am a very on the go person and when I finally hit a computer the last thing I am doing is checking my weight and diet. I’d rather have all that info in my pocket.
After setting up your account you’re sent to the “Today” screen. Here you’ll see some nice articles to read for your morning constitutional, the calories eaten today, and the calories burned. You get your info served to you with two nice line graphs and some simple text. Overall it’s easy to follow and to see what’s going on for that day.
Food for Thought
Now, you’re getting the nibbles and you need to get something in your stomach. Before launching towards the fridge like a mad cow you might want to check out the “Food” tab. Here is where you will log your daily eats. It’s a tad confusing at first glance but you get over it quickly after you realized how it’s designed.
This tab is best used if you plan ahead. You can select and add the foods you are planning to eat along with the calorie count and dosage for each meal. The developer was even nice enough to include a snack time. Adding food is cumbersome though. You search and find what food you will be eating, how much, what brand, and so forth, and add it to your daily meal. Hence, planning ahead… Adding your meal and foods can be a tad annoying and does take time. If you decide you enjoyed what you ate though, you can always copy the meal to the next day. There are only so many days I can stomach the same thing meal though. This process is a necessary evil for the app. It certainly isn’t my favorite part.
Feel the Burn!
Next we continue our journey on over to the exercise part. Are you excited? Are you pumped!?
After clicking on the fitness tab you’re greeted with the daily push-ups you’ve done. Not terribly exciting. But you’ll also get a run down of the time spent moving and calories burnt. Just like the “Food” tab, you enter in you exercises done and how long you did them and the app will guesstimate from there. Straight forward but it takes a couple seconds. Rinse wash and repeat day after day.
Weigh in Time Boys
The last important stop is the weigh in tab. Like a wrestler on game day, the app has you check your weight religiously. Step on the scale, shriek in horror, input your numbers, peek at your graph, rinse, wash, and repeat, next day… With any luck you’ll be watching that little blue line on that nice simplistic little graph going down in no time.
Of course, if you so choose, you can always adjust your options and settings later on. The “more” tab stores all this info. Curiously there is also some mysterious water setting I couldn’t figure out. I leave this as a mystery to you. The app isn’t clear at all what to do with this. But, anyway, you’ll have the options to change your personal info and settings, view your reports, and share your progress so far.
All in all in the app isn’t bad. It’s free so the price is great. The colors are very pastel and easy to read. I didn’t really experience any force closes across multiple devices, which is such a great thing on a hardware-fragmented platform like android.
I also had no trouble multitasking with the app as well. The information was harder to read on smaller screens though. There is some info to plug in to the app. In fact, get in the same mentality as your birth control; you’ll need to do it everyday.
Would I recommend this app? Yes, I would. Whether you are on a commercial weight loss program (i.e Weight Watchers, Medifast, Atkins, BistroMD, etc) or you are following your own diet plan, the Diet and Food Tracker by Sparkpeople can be a valuable tool. Not all people like to count calories, though. Play with it for a week and see how it feels with you. If you don’t get your mojo going from it, then move on. There are similar apps on the market.
Guest author Matthew is a Smartphone lover and technology addict who enjoys reviewing fitness and weight loss related apps. In his blog, he reviews weight loss programs and features discount offers for Medifast and Bistro MD coupons for 2011, two proven meal replacement and food delivery weight loss plans.