How low should my cholesterol be? Should my father be screened for prostate cancer?
Does my daughter need the HPV vaccine?
Should my wife be screened for ovarian cancer?
Do any members of my family need folic acid, and if so, how much?
These are just several examples of the many questions and concerns that adults may have about preventive health and health maintenance for themselves and their loved ones.
The US Department of Health and Human Services provides the AHRQ-ePSS App (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – electronic Preventive Services Selector) for healthcare professionals, but today we review an analogous app that seeks to provide non-healthcare professionals with information on preventive health and health maintenance.
Targeted primarily towards non-healthcare professionals, the My Health Checklist 2012 App comes to us from Proven Health Ways.
Its trademark is this website developed by Dr. Paul Hartlaub, a preventive medicine physician, to provide consumers with reliable information on “what really works to prevent disease.”
Browsing the Proven Health Ways website reveals a dedication to evidence-based recommendations, including reliance on the reputable United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
The My Health Checklist 2012 App home screen opens with links to the following 3 approaches to the app’s content:
- Basic Lists by Age/Gender
- Lists for High-Risk Adults
- Complete A-Z Topic List
The “Gender/Age Basic Lists” approach allows users to input their gender and age (between 18 and 86+ years) to obtain personalized lists of recommendations.
Here, we examine recommendations for males aged 60-64 years. The recommendation lists are sorted into the following 3 categories:
- Not recommended
- Uncertain risk/benefit
Clicking on the “recommended” tab displays a list of recommendations that are supported by evidence to benefit adults in the selected gender/age group.
Clicking on a recommendation displays the particular information with its reference. Here, the colorectal cancer screening recommendation comes from the USPSTF, a premier authority on health screening. Another valuable aspect of the app is the inclusion of “more info” for each recommendation, which further illuminates the recommendation of interest for users.
The “Lists for High-Risk Adults” approach features a dynamic search function for users to find risk factors that warrant particular or additional screening or prevention. Here, for example, searching for “military” reveals that military recruits represent a high-risk group for whom the meningococcal vaccine is recommended, per ACIP guidelines.
Finally, the “Complete A-Z Topic List” represents another powerful use of the My Health Checklist 2012 App. With this function, users can search for particular topics within the app’s content to find recommendations.
For example, returning to a query we mentioned at the beginning of the app review, users wondering whether anyone in their family needs folic acid can search for “folate” or “folic acid” with this approach.
They can then quickly learn–according to USPSTF recommendations–that women capable of pregnancy should take a daily folate supplement of 400-800 micrograms, and that taking folate supplements can reduce the risk of fetal central nervous system malformations.
- My Health Checklist 2012 costs $2.99 at the iTunes store.
- Evidence-based and up-to-date recommendations written by a physician and based on trusted reputable authorities (especially the USPSTF and ACIP)
- Easy-to-understand “more information” for each topic
- User interface makes it easy to navigate throughout app content
- We love the emphasis on preventive health and health maintenance!
- Best suited for non-healthcare professionals (we love the AHRQ-ePSS App for healthcare professionals)
- The My Health Checklist 2012 App represents an outstanding, physician-authored, evidence-based resource for non-healthcare professionals to learn more about preventive health and health maintenance for themselves and their loved ones.