Stay connected to your health with digital apps

by Kaiser Permanente |
Person using their phone on public transit

It’s practically impossible to navigate your busy life nowadays without relying on your smartphone. With a mobile device, you can manage your finances, keep track of your appointments, and order everything from a new mattress to your weekly groceries with a tap of a button.

Of the time people spend on smartphones, more than 85% is spent on apps meant to make life easier. And while some are guilty of extending our idle time (such as gaming and video apps), there are plenty of apps designed to improve your health and well-being.

Stay connected to your health

Studies show that patients who are engaged in their health — by staying connected with their caregivers or keeping up-to-date with their health measurements — tend to experience better outcomes.1

As smartphones have transformed the way people engage, some health care plans and providers now employ entire departments to explore how mobile apps and wireless devices can help people get better care.

Find the best options for your needs

And it’s not just the health care industry offering health-conscious apps. Browse any app center and you’ll find countless options to help you focus on health and wellness. But with more than 165,000 apps on the market, you might be wondering where to start.

To make things simpler, we’ve organized these apps into 5 main types. Browse the list, consider your unique health needs, and start getting more from your smartphone as a health empowerment tool.

Fitness trackers and training apps

Whether you’re counting your steps or the minutes of your workout, health fitness apps and wearables can keep you motivated by tracking your progress and offering extra tips and support to help you reach your goals.

Fitness trackers and training apps can:

  • Plan and log workouts
  • Provide a variety of workouts that you can do right in your living room
  • Connect you to coaches or communities for extra support
  • Sync with your calendar and alert you when it’s time to sleep, exercise, or meditate

The self-reinforcement you get tracking your progress makes you your own best trainer, letting you decide how to build and maintain the best fitness regimen for your needs.

Mental health apps

In today’s stressful culture, it’s good to know there are apps devoted to helping you care for your mind. Some are designed to help you deal with depression, while others aim to manage anxiety. There are even options to help you practice daily mindfulness, a technique favored among cognitive behavioral therapists for handling stress, past trauma, interpersonal conflict, or triggering situations.

Health management apps

When it comes to keeping yourself healthy, app stores are full of tools to help you:

  • Track your blood sugar
  • Create eating plans specific to your dietary needs
  • Measure your quality of sleep
  • Remember to take medication

These resources track your health results and can support the care your doctor provides by giving you consistent feedback on your well-being. Using this data, you can alert your care team if you notice anything unusual.

Healthy lifestyle apps

Whether you’re interested in a specific health goal, going through a life change, or simply wanting to stay informed on health issues, there’s a wealth of apps ready to share health information that interests you. These informational apps can:

  • Guide you to healthier solutions with daily wellness tips
  • Prepare you for pregnancy and other life changes
  • Provide you with local health and wellness opportunities, from classes to healthy hikes
  • Offer healthy recipes and information on nearby restaurants

Health provider apps

Apps provided by your health plan or provider are designed to make getting your care even easier. Whether they let you email your doctor, order prescription refills on the go, or even act as a digital version of your health plan ID card, these apps make managing your health care more convenient. Some apps even let you schedule appointments and choose between a phone, video, or in-person visit.

(Please note that phone or video visits may not always be available or appropriate for your condition.)

Take the first step

Most app stores offer reviews and assessments of the health apps available, so open your device’s app center and tap into a wealth of health. If you have questions or want a recommendation for an app that can help you achieve a health goal, simply ask your doctor.

See an example of a health provider app by checking out the Kaiser Permanente app for the iPhone® or Android™ from the App Store® or on Google Play™.2

Jessica Greene, et al., "When Patient Activation Levels Change, Health Outcomes And Costs Change, Too," Health Affairs, March 2015, p. 431.

Apple and iPhone are trademarks of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Google Play and Android are trademarks of Google, Inc.