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Entries in Apps (7)

Tuesday
Mar052013

Apps Could Mean Cheaper Prescription Drugs at Your Fingertips

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After ABC News' “Real Money” piece last week on saving thousands on prescription drugs, many of ABC News' viewers inquired about how easy it was to use the money-saving apps suggested by expert Michelle Katz.

So, Katz, a health care advocate, joined up with the ABC News team again and Doug Hirsch, the CEO of the popular app GoodRx.

Here’s how the app works: Type in the drug and your location and the app will look for coupons as well as the best price for the drug in your area. Download the coupons to your smartphone or print them out from the GoodRx website.

GoodRx.com also provides the pharmacy’s number and gives directions to get there.

Using the GoodRx app, the “Real Money” team found that in the Santa Monica area, where California retiree Lynda Bezdek lives, prices ranged from nearly $15 to almost $150 for a 30-day supply of 40 mg of the generic brand of Lipitor.

“It’s shocking,” Bezdek said.

The “Real Money” team learned that medication prices depended on numerous variables, such as a pharmacy’s contract with each drug supplier, discounts and coupons.

Although the Food and Drug Administration monitors the products, Hirsch said the agency does not regulate price, so consumers have to pay whatever the pharmacy charges — at times a 20 percent to 80 percent price difference for the same drug.

Thanks to GoodRx, though, Bezdek was able to cut her prescription bills in half, saving $2,280 on her medication.

“I am not tech savvy and I think this [the app] is very easy to use,” she said. “That’s real money.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

New Mobile Apps Give Online Dating a Makeover

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In 2013, blind dates are getting a serious makeover.

Alex Pavlenko is one of the millions of Americans looking for love at any time of day. She went on a blind date during her lunch hour.

Pavlenko met her blind date, Ed Stern, on a brand-new mobile app from dating website OKCupid called Crazy Blind Date, which matched them based on their personality profiles. Two days after they were connected, they met for a blind lunch date.

Two days is a lifetime for today’s apps, which help happy singles looking for Mr. Right, right now.

While online dating sites are seeing fewer visitors – ComScore says 22.9 million visitors ventured to online sites in January 2012 compared to 29.3 million in 2011 – apps like Locals and Singles Around Me are making instant love connections with people nearby who want to meet up immediately.

The number of app-happy singles looking for love on their smartphones is booming, according to Nielsen. In November 2012, there were 13.7 million – double the rate from the previous year.

These apps can show you all of the potential dates that are within walking distance of your exact location. Love can be found literally right across the street with these new apps.

The fastest-growing app is Tinder, which instantly introduces you to your friends’ friends. It’s so popular, it grew 750 percent just last month. The app has made more than 15 million matches with 1.5 billion profile ratings and more than 60 percent of their users logging in every day.

Sam Yagan, the CEO of OKCupid, designs apps that deliver romance at warp speed.

“You can be dating all the time, from wherever you are. And that’s really the key,” he said.

Yagan’s apps can schedule dates in just 30 seconds. You don’t even have to do the asking because the app does it for you.

These apps are leading many to wonder, can instant connections lead to lasting love?

For Pavlenko, her instant date went “pretty well.” But with 100 dates in the palm of her hand, she’s already looking for the next one.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

Could You Have Skin Cancer? There's an App for That

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you've ever wondered if the mole you see on your skin could be something more serious -- don't worry. There's an app for that.

Smartphone apps are now promising to detect and even diagnose skin cancer.

But medical experts are concerned that the questionable safety and accuracy of such apps could affect whether or not people choose to seek treatment from a doctor.

For the study, published in the online JAMA Dermatology, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center evaluated four unidentified smartphone apps that claimed to ascertain whether a mole has developed into a cancerous melanoma.  The app that performed the best could accurately single out cancerous moles 98.1 percent of the time, while the app with the worst accuracy identified them up only 6.8 percent of the time -- a far cry from the trained dermatologists' accuracy levels of around 90 percent.

But these apps are generally not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as noted in a Wall Street Journal report. However, there are FDA-approved apps, meant for specific use by physicians in making diagnoses.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project of more than 3,000 respondents, 35 percent of Americans consulted websites to figure out what ails them, and of that group, about half wind up seeing a doctor.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in a statement responding to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's study, the FDA said this research can "reinforce the importance of consumers talking with a health care professional before making any medical decisions," and that the agency plans to make mobile apps a top priority.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec122011

A Text a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Using wireless technology to improve health outcomes was the focus for the annual mHealth summit, which took place last week at National Harbor in Washington, D.C. With more than 12,000 health-related apps in the iTunes store, it can be hard to know which ones to download, and which ones to pass on. Not to mention there are many other ways to use your phone -- smart or not -- to help you in your quest for good health.

As health management moves from files and folders, to electronic medical records and into the memories of smart phones, here are some of the (free) smart phone apps and mobile services that can help you manage your health.

  • iTriage: With more than 11,000 ratings and an average rating of four stars (4.5 on newest version), it is easy to see why iTriage is a one-stop health app. Created by two ER doctors in 2008, this app can tell you not only what’s wrong with you but where to go for treatment. The application uses a national listing of ERs and medical providers to provide the closest location, as well as ER wait times. And in the unlikely event that you don’t have your phone, you can log in to the app from your computer, too.
  • Text4baby: It may be hard to believe, but not everyone has a smart phone (even if smart phones accounted for 50 percent of all phone sales last year). That is why Text4Baby uses free text messaging to educate and inform moms to be and new moms about how to give babies the “best possible start in life.”
  • What is really cool about this service is that it times the messages to your due date or your baby’s birthday. All you need to do is to text the word “Baby” (or “Bebe” for Spanish) to the number 511411 from your cell phone.
  • Smokefree TXT: This is another app that uses free 24/7 text messages to help smokers quit the habit. Although the program was designed for teenagers (according to Pew, 72 percent  of all teens are text-messagers), anyone can use it. The service sends encouraging messages about quitting. You can also text back with keywords like “crave” or “slip” to let the app know what kind of day you are having.
  • Also, good news for the smart phone users, an app called QuitStart is currently in development and is set to launch in early January.
  • LoseIt: Losing weight and keeping tabs on your caloric intake can be not only hard but discouraging. Enter LoseIt, whose website touts that “86 percent of their users have lost weight.” LoseIt lets you track what you have had to eat each day, as well as how many calories the food counted toward your “daily calorie budget.” Not only can you track your progress from your smart phone but also your computer.
  • Rxmind Me: Ever had trouble remembering which pill to take when? With so many medications out there, all with different dosages and time intervals, it’s no wonder many people are not in compliance with their doctors advice. Well, now with apps like Rxmind Me that faulty memory is no excuse. Simply download the free app, insert your medications, dosages and other important information and Rxmind Me will alert you when it is time to pop that pill. You can even add pills you take randomly so you can check on drug interactions with your physician or pharmacist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug252011

Hurricane Preparedness Tips and Resources

Ron Garan/NASA(WASHINGTON) -- Hurricane Irene is barreling down on the U.S., a monster storm packing winds of more than 100 miles per hour as it batters the Bahamas. In the next few days, the storm could hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina, or even the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. If you find yourself in Irene's path, experts say not to wait until the last minute. Now is the time to make preparations to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  • Be aware of the latest weather forecast.
  • Make a plan for your family, business and property.
  • Get a disaster preparedness kit stocked with critical supplies, including important documents and medications.
  • Get flood insurance.

Read more of FEMA's advice for securing your family and valued possessions.

The National Weather Service suggests you have a plan for your beloved family pets, and determine safe areas inside your home, as well as escape routes if flooding turns dangerous.

Track the Storm:  Your smartphone could be your most valuable tool during or after a hurricane, with dozens of apps available to provide crucial information.

Here's a list of some of the available apps. Click on the links for download information.

  • Hurricane HD: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. $3.99 – Hurricane HD lets you track storms, with moving radar and satellite imagery from the National Hurricane center. It provides tropical bulletins, forecasts, and advisories for the Atlantic and Pacific Basins. You can watch video updates for storms currently underway or forming, and find data on major storms of the past, such as hurricanes Andrew, Hugo and Katrina.
  • The Weather Channel: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Android. Free – The Weather Channel has fully customizable weather maps, animated radar maps, detailed weather conditions and forecasts, severe weather alerts, and a notification bar with the current temperature and severe weather alert indicator. It allows you to get weather forecasts for your location or search by city, ZIP code, street address or landmark. The app also includes interactive maps that are fully customizable and feature the functionality of Google Maps. Customers can decide to display layers such as radar, clouds, UV index, rainfall and more.
  • Global Alert Network: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android BlackBerry. Free – The Global Alert Network delivers hands-free national traffic and weather alerts. See iTunes for Apple devices, or go to BlackBerry for a download. The Global Alert Network is a location-aware network platform that automatically broadcasts audible hands-free alerts to mobile devices. You choose to subscribe to weather or traffic alerts, which are geo-targeted to your location.


Other Resources
Click HERE for a list of useful storm preparedness resources and websites.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug122011

Smartphone Apps Offer Solutions for Sleeping and Relaxation

Apple Inc.(NEW YORK) -- Insomnia and anxiety afflict millions of people. But instead of reaching for tranquilizers or sleeping pills, you might be smart to pick up your smartphone.
 
There you can find apps to help you relax as some of the latest applications on major mobile platforms are focused on meditation, breathing techniques and even "Simply Being."
 
The apps use narration combined with music to guide the user through meditation and relaxation.
 
Other apps aim to lull you to sleep, such as "Brain Wave" and "Mayo Clinic Insomnia Wellness Solutions"

You select what combination of sounds, words and music opens the door to your shut-eye.  
 
One caution, though: the apps range from free to pricey -- so make sure the expenses don't cost you any sleep.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

Do iPads and Smartphones Really Teach Toddlers to Read?

Tooga/The Image Bank/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An interesting trend has emerged in which app makers are marketing directly to parents who are looking to help their children as young as four months old get a head start on learning.

Type in "toddler" and "educational" into iTunes and you'll find more than 800 apps specifically marketed to children under age 3.

Toys 'R Us is now selling the iPad, and PC World named the iPad the best toy of the year for young children.  One town in Maine is even spending $200,000 on iPads for its entire incoming kindergarten class.

But do iPads or smartphones and toddler marketed apps really make young kids smarter?

Many parents like Mia Kim, a blogger and founder of a tech site for gadget lovers, are convinced of it.  Her 14-month-old son Finn has his own iPad.

"Around 9, 10 months he started really sort of getting in to it," she said.  "I think in this day and age, he does have a head start being so good at just navigating through his own iPad."

Kim has downloaded more than 75 apps for Finn and said he recognizes letters.

PBS did a study showing benefits in kids 3 to 7, but for infants and toddlers, there doesn't seem to be any thorough research into the claimed benefits of these educational apps.

Some pediatricians say handing kids an iPad is pretty much the same as letting them watch television.

"(We) recommend that children under the age of 2 don't have any screen time whatsoever," said Dr. Alanna Levine of the American Association of Pediatrics.

But Levine adds that if you interact with your toddler while playing an iPad game that may be ok for short periods of time.

While no studies prove apps make toddlers smarter, there's no clear research that shows they hurt children.  But for parents who can't imagine shelling out $500 for an infant's toy, Levine says not to worry.

"Parents are always looking for that edge to make their child the smartest but I think the most important thing you can do as a parent is interact with your child.  You don't need an iPad or a fancy tablet to make your child learn," she says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio