With the increase in telehealth and remote care options available for almost any condition, you might be wondering… how do I know what to look for in an app? There are so many options, how do I sort through the clutter. First, talk to your healthcare provider. They may be able to recommend apps that would be helpful for your specific condition.
If you’re considering a surgery, like ankle, shoulder, hip, or knee replacement, back surgery, or even certain arthroscopic procedures, here are a few other things to consider when looking to use a remote care or telehealth app:
1. Does the app offer built-in education?
If you’re considering a major surgery like joint replacement, you likely have a lot of questions. Some apps offer information on the procedure, how to prepare for surgery, what to expect the day of surgery, and recovery and rehabilitation information. Find an app with educational resources and if you still have questions, consult your surgeon.
2. Does the app offer secure communication with your medical care
The ability to interact with your doctor or nurse via video, picture, or message could be beneficial. Make sure to understand how communication would work and if it has encrypted, secure messaging.
3. Is it accessible across multiple platforms?
If you don’t spend much time on a desktop computer, then it might not be beneficial to use an app that only works on that platform. Many times, apps have a variety of ways to access including online, iPad, iPhone, watch, etc. Make sure to find an app that works on a device that you’re comfortable with.
4. Is it easy to use?
It can be super frustrating to download an app that you’re excited to use, only to find that it’s WAY too complicated. It might be useful to read some of the app reviews prior to selecting one, to see if others find it easy to understand.
5. Is there a ‘Reminder’ function?
Being able to set reminders to read education materials, perform exercises, or check-in with your doctor can be very helpful in keeping your progress on track.
6. Are there any tutorials, videos, or animations available?
Especially in the case of rehabilitation exercises and stretching, a video can be worth a thousand words. These can also be beneficial in showing how a procedure works, how a joint (like the hip or knee) functions, and others testimonials.
7. Is there any form of health tracking included?
On top of communicating with your medical team, watching educational videos, and setting reminders, having an app that offers health tracking can be very beneficial. Some apps can monitor heart rate, steps, walking heart rate, stair flights climbed, hours on your feet, and so forth. Some apps even send this information directly to your doctor!