Getting Fit, Staying Well

Forget counting steps. Your smartphone is a gateway to truly useful health information and apps. Tech writer Adam Oxford gives us a quick summary of some of the leading health apps out there.

Medici

What do you do when it’s a public holiday and the little one’s got a cough? Do you race off to casualty or wait until the GP’s surgery reopens tomorrow? Or maybe you just don’t know whether it’s worth sitting in traffic to get that sore throat looked at. 

Medici might have the answers, thanks to its secure chat app, which allows you to talk to a health professional for advice at any time, in a way that’s convenient for you.

Designed by a South African, but originally launched in the United States, Medici does have a catch – your doctor also has to have the app installed.

Medici has a partnership with an established online consultation platform in South Africa, Hello Doctor, which gives it access to healthcare practitioners who are part of the MMI Health and Momentum networks.

Medicare South Africa

If your doctor isn’t on Medici you could try one of the pharmacists at Medicare via that chain’s app. It features an “ask me anything” dialogue which – frankly – could just be asking for trouble, but which will do its best to help with problems you might have. 

Even more useful is the built-in tool for booking an appointment or ordering medicines to be prepared for a time that’s convenient for you to pick up.

8fit

As close to the one true health app as you’re likely to see, 8fit does almost everything relating to fitness and diet in one place. From logging workouts to recommending new exercise regimes and even sports to try, it’s the personal trainer in your pocket that will quickly usurp old favourites as a go-to for the gym. 

8fit also has an eye on your fridge, with a weekly menu planner that will generate a shopping list for you. Just in case you forgot to pick up the quinoa, it can also recommend quick recipes that you can make with the ingredients you have at hand. 

It’s incredibly convenient and comprehensive, but the downside is that the annual subscription isn’t cheap.

Calm

It was the Apple App of the Year for 2017, but that wasn’t enough for Calm, which has just bagged more than R310-million in investment so that it can go on to bigger and better things in 2018 and beyond. Not that you’ll find people getting too excited about that, of course, since Calm is all about slowing things down and being more mindful. 

Packed with exercises designed to help you reach goals such as managing stress or improving the quality of your sleep, the key part of the programme is the 7 Days of Calm guided meditation course, which has won plaudits worldwide.

The Open Medicine Project

We can’t talk about South African health apps without mentioning the Open Medicine Project. Developed by a team of doctors and healthcare workers in Cape Town, the Open Medicine Project is a suite of mobile apps aimed at health professionals and designed to improve access to important information. From the Standard Treatment Guidelines to specialist guides for HIV and TB, the Open Medicine Project puts a library of important reference material onto the phones of workers in the field. 

Image: ©Shutterstock - 686906515

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