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Which Type of Cell Phone Do You Use?

Posted on August 28, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today my sister was evaluating the various types of cell phones out there. I told her a couple of options that she couldn’t go wrong with, but it prompted me to wonder which types of cell phones readers of this site use. Sure, I could look at the stats for the website, but that would just be people who read the site on their cell phone. No doubt many read it from tablets, desktops, laptops, emails, and feed readers.

I look forward to seeing the results.

BlueStar By WellDoc To Be First Mobile Prescription Therapy

Posted on June 19, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

You may be familiar with WellDoc already. They are distributors of a mobile app that was created to help manage diabetes, which has been very successful. And just a few days ago, they released something else that appears to be rather monumental.

The service is called BlueStar, and is the mobile version of the diabetes management program. What’s so monumental about this, is that it is the first disease therapy to be prescribed through an app. In addition to that, it is also the first that can be eligible for reimbursement through insurance. Not all insurance companies will cover it, but self-insured companies like Ford, Rite Aid, and DexCom have said BlueStar will become a part of their pharmacy coverage.

BlueStar features many of the same features that Diabetes Manager, the first WellDoc program, did which include getting alerts when their blood sugar level is too low or high and charts to detect trends. It suggests tips for getting blood sugar higher. However, what’s new is that BlueStar can provide feedback concerning medication dosage, give better coaching, and even recommendations to a doctor.

Just like any prescription, a doctor can prescibe BlueStar for a certain period of time in addition to medications. When a pharmacy receives that prescription, they will forward it on to WellDoc, who will have someone help the patient setup BlueStar on their device. BlueStar will calculate how much insulin a patient should take, depending on the attending physician’s recommendations, blood sugar levels, and how many carbs were eaten at a certain time. If a treatment regimen is deemed to be ineffective for a patient, a report will be sent to the doctor recommendation a new regimen.

Because diabetes truly affects so many across the country, this could mean a lot to many people. Of course, there are questions about how effective it can be, since many people may become unmotivated after using the app for a certain period of time. Time will only tell.

BlackBerry’s “Hail Mary” Pass for mHealth

Posted on February 2, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

With the release of the Microsoft Surface, which might be the ideal tablet for hospitals, doctors have plenty of options when it comes to mobile devices. While it seemed like the former doctor choice, the Blackberry, was becoming obsolete among healthcare professionals, it looks like the company is trying to make a comeback.

The company recently released the BlackBerry 10 OS, a touchscreen Blackberry Z10, and the BlackBerry Q10. Since the company has been struggling, it looks like this might be its saving grace. However, are doctors going to switch back to BlackBerry, especially if they’ve already started getting accustomed to the Android or Apple product they’ve been using?

According to the Mobi Health News article, there are some features that BlackBerry hopes will attract people. These include:

  • A physical keyboard, which most Android and all Apple products lack (unless you purchase a detachable one.)
  • An opt-in predictive text
  • BlackBerry Balance – the data storage allows the user to have work-related material put in a special section that is more secured, and it can be easily deleted if the employee leaves the company.
  • BlackBerry Protect – this is a built-in security feature, that, if the device is lost, can remotely delete all the information. This is usually a feature that has to be downloaded on most mobile apps, but just comes with the new devices.
  • Blackberry Remember – an “organizational aid” that can be used to take notes and keep track of events. There is plans for it to be able to sync with Evernote.

The CEO of BlackBerry, Thorsten Heins, has also indicated that the new OS will eventually expand to other devices, especially ones for medical professions.

These new developments for BlackBerry are being called their Hail Mary pass, and it seems like they are making a worth effort. I think if they want to compete, they will need to release some type of tablet, as well as get health app creators to make more BlackBerry compatible apps. It’s obvious that many companies are seeing the value in appealing to the healthcare field, and it will be interesting to see if BlackBerry can get their name back in the game.

The Patient’s Guide Reveals How iPhone Dominates Mobile Health Research

Posted on December 12, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Over a 2-year period, The Patient’s Guide compiled information concerning mobile engagement trends from over 12 million visitors. They were looking to see if there was a trend toward mobile computing for healthcare research versus traditional desktop computing, and how big it was. During this research, The Patient’s Guide discovered how the iPhone pretty much dominates in this arena. 

According to the research, these are the top 10 devices used for finding medical information:

1. iPhone

2. iPad

3. iPod

4. Sony Xperia

5. Samsung Galaxy


7. Motorola Dorid

8. Blackberry

9. HTC INcredible

10. T-Mobile MyTouch

I’m not surprised by these results at all. I mean, almost every health app I look at is available for the iPhone, many available for Android devices, and it’s really hit or miss for Blackberry or Windows’ devices. Not only did this study determine this top ten list, but also found the following interesting facts:

  • 94% increase in consumer medical searches using iPhone in 2012 when compared to 2011
  • An estimated 1.5 million searched for medical information using their iPhone in the last 12 months using Patient’s Guide websites alone
  • iPhone captures 41% of total mobile medical traffic
  • 20% male/80% female searching for medical information online
  • 1 in 3 cell phone owners (31%) have used their phone to look for health information

information submitted by Brittney Roberts, Director of Marketing Communications at The Patient’s Guide

I found a lot of these findings fascinating, particularly that 80 percent of those searching for medical information online are females. It makes sense to me, at least from what I’ve been exposed to. I look at my husband and I. I’m always online, researching different ailments that I’m sure one of us has, and then there’s my husband, who I doubt has ever even been to WebMD. Perhaps women tend to worry more, or even just feel more of an obligation to search out medical information? Who knows. Either way, it’s an interesting finding.

And again, it’s amazing just how many people are using the iPhone. Personally, I don’t like the iPhone, but obviously, it’s very popular, especially among people wanting health information. I wonder why that is — any suggestions?

And finally, it’s crazy that a 1/3 of cell phone users have used their phone to look up health information. I’m not sure if that’s referring to those with smart phones, or just all cell phone users in general, but still, crazy. Though, part of me is surprised it isn’t more.

The news release about this suggests that there are number of different factors influencing these trends, such as “government regulations and insurance reimbursements, as well as the evolution of mobile computing devices such as the new iPad mini.” I definitely feel like this numbers are only going to continue to grow. mHealth just makes things so much more convinient in my opinion (for the most part, at least.)

The Patient’s Guide also created a neat infographic concerning the data found in their study:

To learn more about the study conducted by The Patient’s Guide, follow this link to the infographic/news release.

MyCrisisRecords Offers Peace of Mind In Emergency Situations

Posted on December 10, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

It’s always nice to get feedback from readers, especially when they alert me to other apps. With some of my recent lists, I can’t always post all the great apps pertaining to a particular topic. While I try to do a thorough job researching, I obviously have room for error just because of the vast number of apps out there. So I definitely encourage readers and app creators to let us know if you have a great app that I should talk about. On that note, the CEO and founder of My Crisis Record contacted us about his service, and I thought it would be good to talk about. I focus a lot on mHealth apps around here, and this is an alternative to having all your medical information stored in an app.

MyCrisisRecords offers a place to store medical information safely and remotely and access them in a variety of ways, depending on the membership plan they choose. There are a few different plans, ranging from free to 14.99 a year. The free membership includes access to their Personal Health Care Record (PHRC) online, while the 14.99 plan has a lot more options. You can register here and view all the details of each plan, but here are a few features that can be used.

  • MY Crisis Card: This is a card that you put in your wallet that has a personalized QR code on it. A medical professional and emergency responder can take the card, scan the code, and all your medical information will be displayed on their smartphone or tablet.
  • MyShareFile: This allows the user to upload diagnostic files to their PHCR, so they can be easily shared and accessed by medical professionals.
  • My Crisis Capsule: A flash-drive like device that contains all your medical information (that you have submitted to your profile) pops up as soon as it is
  • Mobile: The ability to access your PHRC mobiley

After I registered, I went to see what kind of information you could enter. And I wasn’t disappointed. They sure didn’t seem to leave anything out. This could definitely be very helpful in case of an emergency. I like how there are different plans available, just according to whatever your needs are, and even the most expensive plan isn’t that bad. The information is stored securely and can only be accessed on the web with a password.

I did find the website to be a bit confusing. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if everyone gets the My Crisis Capusle, regardless of the plan they sign up for, or if it is only included in the highest plan. I also found it hard to find the information I was looking for at times (like the prices for plans), and it was a little information heavy in some places.

Overall, this program should definitely be one that anyone wanting to be a little more prepared should look into. It’s a nice alternative to storing the information on a mobile app, or on paper, though it can be accessed both those ways (a copy of the PHRC can be printed off if desired.)

Succeeding in the mHealth App Creation Frenzy — Make It Simple and Valuable

Posted on September 19, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Since we’re on the topic of making apps easier to use, I thought I’d comment on another article I read at Fierce Mobile Care.

Mobile health apps are being created left and right. Some are successful, others are not. The question many developers should be asking themselves is how to separate their app from one of the more than 10,000 medical and healthcare apps currently available? Show value and make it simple, according to this article.

The author of the article makes a good point:

The problem is that too many of the apps are duplicative. After all, how many BMI calculators does a person need? Far fewer are focused on managing chronic conditions, though apps to help manage diabetes tend to be among the most popular.

I imagine a BMI calculator is far more simple to make than an app that is designed to help treat chronic illnesses. But like this person said . . . how many BMI calculators do you actually need? To be honest, I don’t even need one — I have a browser that can give me that information just as quickly, plus it doesn’t take up room on my phone.

The article referenced another articles called “What’s the Matter With Mobile Health Apps Today?” There were a lot of interesting points made, and I think that this graph really displays her opinion well:

I download lots of mHealth apps to my phone, and to be honest, most of them end up getting deleted after I realize I never use them. Which is sad, I know, but life gets busy and I don’t find them absolutely essential to my life, and many of them are just time consuming to understand. Rhona Finkel, author of the article explains the phenomenon (and it makes me feel better to know that only 20 percent of users use an app again the day after it’s downloaded; 5 percent after a month, and almost 0 at 3 months):

Fundamentally, it seems, it’s a little like starting a new exercise program.  Everyone starts off enthusiastic, buys a new running outfit, fits themselves with a new pair of Nikes and sets off running every day. By week two it’s down to a light job twice a week. A month into it people are back in their sweats, sitting around the TV with a bowl of potato chips.

It’s like Rhona was watching my life.

But why is it that apps aren’t “sticking?” Are the only ones that really get used consistently ones that are “prescribed” to patients — and even then, those apps probably go largely unused. Here’s Rhona’s guess:

I’ll tell you what’s wrong in a nutshell. It’s boring and time-consuming to enter the data required by so many apps to get the most bang for your buck. I mean to enter my calories consumed, my medicines taken, my notes in my gratitude journal. But in the end I’m really more of a potato-chip-on-the-couch type of app consumer than one enthusiastically willing to exercise my fingers and thumbs.

The bottom line is, an app needs to be interesting. Interesting enough that person is excited to open it, rather than dread it. We live in a world where people get bored easily. Should apps incorporate games, music, and lots of flashy things? I don’t think so. That’s not what health is all about. H&HN Daily’s writer Ian Morrison suggests “that complexity and confusion are also a major part of consumer engagement issues . . . [and] advises that hospitals keep it simple with their products and services because patients are reluctant to engage in their health with confusing option.”

mHealth apps are supposed to make our lives easier, and really, I think they would if we spent as much time using them as we do playing Angry Birds. Have any of you found apps that meet the goals of showing value and being simple?

Runtastic Makes Tracking Exercise Easier and More Fun

Posted on August 13, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

If none of the running apps from this post struck your fancy, here’s another great one to try out. Runtastic. It’s not just a run of the mill running app. It’s a running app on steroids. Their moto is “runtastic – makes sports funtastic.” When I first started to review it, it didn’t seem too different from apps I’ve tried in the past, but the more I looked into it, the more I really liked it. If you are really meticulous about tracking your exercise, this definitely is the app for you. It tracks just about everything I can think of. And, it isn’t just for running. The app has tons of different exercises you can select and have it track. Here is the main page:

It keeps track of the history of your exercise, and at the top is a running total of how many calories have been burned, total duration, and mile count. From here, you can also select specific workouts that you want to view the details of. I haven’t used the app too much, so I’m not sure if the workouts stay forever, but it seems to have a good history.

The next few screen shots show what is kept track of for each workout. The main page shows the pace, speed, elevation, and calories. At the end of each workout, you can put in an emoticon to describe how you felt, what kind of terrain you ran on, and even the temperature (which is automatically put in by the app).

The split table allows you to see how fast you went at certain times throughout the exercise session (this particular one was a walk), such as the fastest and slowest sections.

The graphs available show where the elevation was at, the speed, heart rate and pace throughout the run (or whatever exercise you selected).

Finally, you can view a map of the run. This is pretty standard for most running apps.

Potentially the coolest feature of this app is 3D Google Earth view. Unfortunately, this is only available for Android devices, but if you have one, it’s pretty awesome. Check out this video about what it is exactly:

The app also lets users hook up different sensors to more accurately track heart rate, steps, and speed. Ones that have been created specifically by runtastic will be available soon. Check out the sensors here.

runtastic also has different apps that are more specifically tailored to different sports and exercises. The one I reviewed is the standard one that is most specifically for running, but there’s a pedometer, walking, and even winter sports. Check out a full list here. I wasn’t totally sold on how accurate the calorie counter was, as once I started the tracking prematurely as I sat and waited for my sister to arrive, and it told me I had burned around 30 calories just sitting there. I feel as if it would be more accurate if there was the ability to enter in stats, such as age, weight, and sex, and then calories burned would be more accurate. Who knows though.

There are also training plans available for users. This function is only currently available for the iPhone, but there are quite a few available . I wish I had an iPhone, because it seems pretty cool. The plans can be accessed online for those of us without an iPhone, but they obviously aren’t quite as accessible because it isn’t going in your ear as you run. They do cost money, usually around $8 for a Gold member, or $14 for anyone else. To become a Gold member, check out membership fees here.

One kind of fun feature is the “cheer” function. If you allow your app to connect to the runtastic website, your workout will be featured “live” and people can cheer you on. If you need some motivation, that might do the trick. You can also view lots of details concerning your workouts through your online account, connect with friends, input body measurements, and more. I probably won’t use that too often, but it seemed like a neat interface.

The app is available for the iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry devicse, and Windows 7 devices though the features do vary. The lite version is free, but to really get the full functionality of the app, it would be a smart idea upgrade to the Pro version:

iPhone: Runtastic Pro – 5.99 Runtastic – Free

Android: Runtastic Pro – 3.99 Runtastic – Free

Blackberry: Runtastic Pro – 3.99 Runtastic – Free

Windows 7: Runtastic Pro – 4.99 Runtastic – Free

5 Must-Have Medical Apps for Medical Students

Posted on July 6, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

I think it’s safe to say that the next generation of doctors won’t be shying away from using mHealth. However, before having the opportunity to use all the health technology out there in their own practices, there are a few hurdles medical students need to come, the most important being graduation. There are many apps that have been developed to help med students on that journey, and even after graduation. After reading countless reviews, websites, and seeing what apps Harvard Med Students found the most helpful, here is a list of the top five apps for medical students:

1. Epocrates: This app topped many lists that I viewed and for good reason. According to its iTunes page, Epocrates is the number one mobile drug reference used by U.S. physicians, and apparently, 50 percent of physicians rely on it (how accurate that statement is, I have no clue). Before I get ahead of myself, the Epocrates is a company that has a variety of mobile apps available, ranging from anatomy, to first aid, to flash cards for different specialities. Most of them require a hefty fee, but the one I am talking about right now is free. The free version, which allows the user to “get quick access to reliable drug, disease, and diagnostic information at the point of care” has the following features:

  • Clinical information on thousands of prescription, generic, and OTC drugs
  • In-depth formulary information
  • Pill ID
  • Check for adverse reactions between up to 30 drugs at a time
  • Dozens of calculations, such as BMI and GFR
  • Current medical news, research, and information
The app is available for the iPhone, Android, Windows, and the Blackberry.

If you are willing to pay the price, the med students at Harvard recommend Epocrates Essentials, which costs $159 a year, but is far more comprehensive and can be purchased here.

2. iRadiology: Another free app, iRadiology is a “compendium of over 500 unique images demonstrating the classic radiological findings of a multitude  of abnormalities.” The information is pulled from the teachings of Dr. Gillian Lieberman, Director of Harvard Medical Student Education. The resources are available without an Internet connection and would be perfect for studying on the go. The app has over 500 unique cases which have detailed descriptions and a discussion about the findings, quizzes that require the user to find abnormalities, real-life pictures, and a comprehensive keyword search.

The app is available for the iPhone.

3. Dynamed: This app has over 3,100 “evidence-based clinical summaries updated daily and intended for use primarily at the point-of-care.” The database is very comprehensive and organized alphabetically. Conditions, treatments, and more can be easily searched for and reviewed. This is a subscription based app and an access code is required in order to use the app. Many medical institutions have subscriptions and can give their access code to students. However, if your school doesn’t offer a subscription, contact for an access code. The app covers more than 850 subjects and features a comprehensive drug guide, medical alerts, and calculators.

The app is available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows.

4. Medscape Mobile:
With a nearly 5 star rating in the iTunes app store, 1.4 million healthcare professional users, and the #1 most downloaded free medical app in 2010, this is a must for all students and people working in the medical field. It is a very comprehensive go-to app with a little bit of everything. There is up-to-date meidcal news, clinical references for drugs and diseases, and its newest feature, medical calculators. The calculators have 129 medical formulas, scales, and classifications, and supports both US and SI systems. There is information on over 8,000 drugs, features more than 600 step-by-step procedure videos, and sections on different specialties. If you only download one app during medical school, consider this one.

This app is available for the iPhoneAndroidBlackberry, and Kindle Fire

5. Eponyms (for students): With the amount of eponyms that should be learned, this app helps make that process a little easier. Featuring over 1,700 “common and obscure” eponyms, 28 categories, and learn mode. Learn mode randomly displays different eponyms from a particular category that has been viewed recently, making it easy to review eponymns and get them committed to memory. The app uses a data base of eponyms created by Andrew J. Yee, which can be found here. Note that the free student version is only intended for students.

This app is available for the iPhone and Android.

Better Sleep from a Smartphone

Posted on June 15, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Sleep. It’s overrated, right?

Not so much. It’s truly amazing how the correct amount of sleep can do for a person…and somewhat shocking what the lack of can do. Sleep and a healthy life go hand in hand. I mean, check out some of these facts listed on this webpage from Harvard:

Many of the costs of poor sleep go unnoticed. Medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, develop over long periods of time and result from a number of factors, such as genetics, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Insufficient sleep has also been linked to tehse and other health problems, and is considered an important risk factor. Although scientists have just begun to identify the connections between insufficient sleep and disease, most experts have concluded that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.

Seriously, go and read the article I linked to up there. It seems like many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, trying to be healthy. We pay outrageous gym fees, meticulously plan healthy meals, and go to extremes in order to be healthy. But how many of those people get a decent amount of sleep each night? I bet a lot of health issues could be eliminated, or at least significantly improved, if we spent more time sleeping.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t get as much as I need. Part of that comes with the territory of having a 2-month-old baby, but my issues with sleep started long before my baby was born. Sometimes, it’s just plain hard to fall asleep and especially to get some good ol’ REM sleep.

So what does this have to do with mobile healthcare? Well, it’s something I like to call white noise. It’s not a new idea. I’ve been told my entire life that putting a fan on helps a person fall to sleep, or listening to the rain. However, sometimes a fan isn’t available, and we obviously can’t control the weather. Luckily, there’s tons of white noise apps available to download, many of which are free.

A few months ago, my husband downloaded White Noise Lite for the iPhone. Not only does it lull my son to sleep, but whenever it’s on, I feel more rested and energetic the next day. All of my worries and thoughts from that day disappeared as I listened to a combination of an oscillating fan, waves crashing, and thunder. I swear by white noise, and I think it’s awesome that a phone can be turned into a white noise  machine with just the push of a button.

So are you looking to improve you health? Get more sleep. Have a hard time falling asleep? Download a white noise app. I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better in the morning, which will hopefully create more energy for more efficient workouts. And, most importantly, get amazing benefits that only sleep can give. I know that these apps weren’t created solely as health apps, but I sure think they are!

Here are some of the top-rated white noise apps for different smartphones:

White Noise:

for the iPhone: 1.99 version, free version

for Android: 1.99 version, free version

for Blackberry: 1.99 version

Simply Noise (apparently, the best sound machine .99 can buy, and has not only white noise, but brown and pink. Whatever that means). For the iPhone. For Android.

Losing Weight on the Go: Keep Food Diary Easier than Ever

Posted on May 16, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

A study conducted in 2008 by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research (KPCHR) discovered that keeping a food diary increases the amount of weight a person can lose. Dr. Jack Hollis, a researched at KPCHR, said concerning the study:

The more food records kept, the more weight they lost. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.

Seems pretty simple, right? Without going into too many details in this post, I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. Luckily, I’ve successfully lost (and kept off) about 50 pounds in the past few years. I credit some of that success to keeping a food diary and caloric intake. But let me tell you, it wasn’t always easy. When I started tracking what I ate, it was such a pain to have to look up in a book how many calories were in certain foods, not to mention carry around a notebook and pen everywhere I went. It was well-worth it but certainly not the most convenient activity.

Luckily, there are a lot of websites and apps out there that making tracking food easier than ever (at least I think so). One of the most well-known companies to make this possible is Weight Watchers. However, it is quite pricey to join. But there are a lot of other great resources out there. My favorite?

I discovered MyFitnessPal a few years ago, and it has been awesome, not to mention free. The website encourages its users to interact with friends, family, and quite frankly, random strangers on the website. I’ve used it off and on since I discovered it, and found it to really help make me aware of what I’m eating, and I have lost weight. Don’t just take my word on it. Plenty of others testify of how great the website is.

Still, I don’t always have a computer with me, so I was thrilled when MyFitnessPal came out with their mobile app. Not only is it available on the iPhone and Android phones, but the BlackBerry and Windows phones, so just about anyone with a smartphone can use it. The app is super easy to use and you can literally have your food journal anywhere you go. One of my  favorite features on the app is that you can just scan the barcode of any product and it will automatically upload the nutritional information. Even if a barcode isn’t on the food (say you’re eating out), the database has over 1 million foods. Very rarely have I actually had to enter my own information on foods. Goals are totally customizable, and there is also an option to input exercise, which is also nice (because then you get more calories added to your daily goal!) I also think it’s fun to interact with my family and friends on it.

Here are some screen shots. I think it has a pretty clean interface that’s very simple to use:

App can be downloaded for:

The iPhone




While the only app I use is from MyFitnessPal, there are some other awesome ones available. After doing some research, the following are the ones that seem to be most popular:

Calorie Tracker by — available on the iPhone and Android. Users feel like it has the most extensive food database, and that is its main draw, because it seems to lack a very good design. (cost: $2.99)

MyNetDiary — available on the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. This one seems a little more savvy than CalorieTracker and has more features. However, I would expect it to almost lose the weight for me at the hefty cost of $9.99. Even then, it seems to be pretty popular.

GoMealsHD — available on the iPhone and Android. This one claims to have 175,000 restaurants in the database and 60,000 items. A lot of people like this one because the database is accessible offline, unlike Calorie Tracker, MyNetDiary, and MyFitnessPal. It is also free. The database isn’t quite as good as some of the others, but it seems to get the job done.

So if you want to lose weight, keep a diary. And if you want keeping a diary to be as simple as possible…download one of these apps. It makes life so much easier (and honestly, if it is embarrassing to pull out a food diary in front of people, this makes it a lot more inconspicuous.) Have you found success using a food diary app? Which one is your favorite?