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Am J Med. 2016 Jan;129(1):11-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.05.038. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

Smartphone Applications for Patients' Health and Fitness.

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Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston. Electronic address:


Healthcare providers are often looking for ways to objectively monitor and improve their patients' health and fitness, especially in between patient visits. Some insurance companies are using applications data as incentives to improve health and lower premiums. As more and more people start to use smartphones, they may provide a tool to help improve a patient's health and fitness. Specifically, fitness applications or "apps" on smartphones are programs that use data collected from a smartphone's inbuilt tools, such as the Global Positioning System, accelerometer, microphone, speaker, and camera, to measure health and fitness parameters. The apps then analyze these data and summarize them, as well as devise individualized plans based on users' goals, provide frequent feedback, personalized coaching, and additional motivation by allowing milestones to be shared on social media. This article introduces evidence that apps can better help patients reach their health and fitness goals. It then discusses what features to look for in an app, followed by an overview of popular health and fitness apps. Last, patient scenarios with app recommendations, limitations of apps, and future research are discussed.


Applications; Apps; Exercise; Fitness; Health; Sleep; Smartphone; Training; Weight loss

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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