Fishing for something to blog about?
Well, go get your tackle box because, if you don’t know about this already, there is a huge pool of health apps to reel in and turn into a post any time you like.
Google Play and iTunes stores collectively offer more than 100,000 health apps (Source here). Just on the iTunes store, there are nearly a hundred “medication reminder” apps alone.
These numbers can be a bit overwhelming for sure, but if you narrow your focus and adopt a bit of strategy, the right fish will practically jump into your boat—OK, enough with the fishing metaphor, here are some tips:
Why write about health apps
The bottom line is people are interested in the subject. Almost three-quarters of American adults use a smartphone, and most of them are accessing health information, says a 2015 Pew Research Center report.
A 2015 “Pulse of Online Health” survey found that “66% of Americans “would use a mobile app to manage health-related issues.”
How to chose a topic
With so many apps to choose from, the first step in picking a blog post topic is to narrow the field. Here are several ways to do this:
Ask what would help your patients the most
Think about your own practice and what kinds of apps might be of benefit to your patients. For example, if you treat patients with epilepsy you know that a key component of optimizing health is medication compliance. So, writing about medication reminder apps could be a big help to your patients.
Find out What the Big News Outlets Have to say
Lots of people are talking about health apps these days. You will surely be inspired by the many articles and blog posts that abound.
Here is a great article in the New York Times Well blog called “Questioning the Value of Health Apps,” for example.
Here is another good article by U.S. News and World Report on “Smart medication reminders for the tech-savvy patient.”
One of my favorite phrases begins like this:
“According to a 2015 report by…, XX% of …”
And I know I am not alone based on the number of survey results floating around the internet and in infographics these days. You can use the data you find in your own post or just let it guide you in the right direction.
The “Pulse of Online Health” survey that I mentioned earlier, has some nice data on how American’s are using health apps. Here is their list of the most downloaded health apps:
1. Diet and nutrition trackers
2. Medication reminders
3. Symptom trackers
4. Physical activity trackers
Think about these sub-categories and pick one that fits your practice type. You may already use some of these apps and are fully prepared to write about your favorites.
I just wrote a post about medication reminder apps for a client and I found a great resource in the American Pharmacists Association. They have an updated list of the five most highly rated adherence apps. This narrows down the field considerably. You can download the top two, take them for a spin, and voila—blog post fodder.
Do your own survey
A medical practice is a busy place. Your colleagues, as well as your patients can be great sources of information on health apps. Ask around, chances are, someone in your office, or a colleague of yours has tried out an app or two that you could check out. Your patients will undoubtedly have some suggestions too.
You can even do a more formal survey. It could be something you have your patients fill out in the waiting room to pass the time. Then, after a while or after you get a certain number of surveys, report the results in a blog post.
Plenty of researchers are interested in surfing the growing wave of health apps, as well. With a quick search of PubMed, I found the following 2015 studies:
These resources should be enough to get you started. If you have any suggestions or questions on this subject, I would love to hear from you in the comments below.