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—Illustration by Miles Donovan

Health Apps to Help You Take Care of You

Three locally developed apps turn your smartphone into a digital doctor.

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Your iPhone boasts more computing power than NASA used during the first moon landing. But most of us are employing that muscle to update Facebook friends about our tasty meals or sweet vacations. We’re all for sharing, but why not spend some of those gigabytes on what’s vitally important to you: you. These three new apps, all created by Coloradans, take advantage of your smartphone’s digital might to help you take care of your health.


Harbinger

Smartphones make storing personal info easy, but—as Jennifer Lawrence and plenty of other chagrined celebs can tell you—their security is pretty lax. That’s why privacy laws prohibit the sending of electronic patient data by cell phone, even though doing so—from an ambulance to the hospital, for instance—could improve care. To solve this problem, Denver paramedic Mike Kobneck and his business partner, Kevin Scardina, developed Harbinger, an iPhone app that encrypts pictures, videos, and captions so they can be sent securely and legally. Although the app, which will debut early this year, costs hospitals $2,500 up front, plus $7,500 a month, it’s free for paramedics. Kobneck is currently negotiating with several hospitals, and we’re betting at least a few will be on board by year-end.

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Wink by Kindara

When trying to make a baby, you need to know when things are about to get hot. That’s not innuendo: Body temperature increases just after ovulation, the time in a woman’s cycle when she’s most fertile. That’s why women have long tracked their temps in an effort to improve their chances of (or in some cases, to avoid) getting pregnant. In 2012, Boulder couple Will Sacks and Kati Bicknell made the process a little easier with Kindara, a free app women can use to record their temps. This June, the husband and wife will ship Wink, an oral thermometer with patent-pending technology that will provide accurate readings in just 15 seconds—quick as a, you guessed it, “wink.” Using Bluetooth, Wink ($129) will send the data to Kindara, which will remind you when it’s time to heat things up. (Now that’s innuendo.)


RxAssurance

When kids get shots, they’re rewarded with lollipops. Adults who take their meds get zilch, which might explain why 50 percent of them don’t stick to prescription plans. That’s the theory, anyway, that inspired Denver entrepreneurs Chris Ennis, Bob Goodman, and Dr. Rob Valuck to launch RxAssurance, a Web-based platform that entices patients to record medication use (or neglect) and side effects by offering them prizes, such as Chipotle gift cards. Every time a patient reports, he racks up points, and doctors see who’s following orders. Pending the close of a deal with an undisclosed Denver health-care provider, the team plans to launch an app early this year. That should expand the reach of RxAssurance, which has tracked more than 250,000 patient-assigned tasks and awarded more than $5,000 in prizes (mostly to Coloradans) since its February 2013 debut. Plus, pilot programs say RxAssurance reduces hospital readmission rates and improves outcomes—proving good health might be its own reward, but a free burrito helps the medicine go down.

(Find more great Colorado apps here)

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