Apple Health and Google Fit. Comprehensive health journals in a single app.

May 4, 2016
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There are thousands of apps that track different aspects of your health – from sleeping, walking, heart rate, medications, running, to diet – but how do you get a complete picture of your health in a single app?

Apple Health App

Apple Health App IconComprehensive Health Picture

Apple Health Comprehensive Helath TrackerApple Health comes as a built in app on the iPhone that takes data input from a wide variety of other health & fitness apps aggregating the information in a single app to give you a comprehensive health picture. You can record your exercise activity in one app, your heart rate in another, and what you ate in a different app. Enable the fitness app to share data with Apple’s Health app and you get a complete health picture with all of the information stored in one app. You can share the information with your physician or family.

When you install a health and fitness app it will ask you if you would like it to share its data with Apple Health. You can accept of deny the request. You can also control which information is shared between the apps by going to Apple Health > Sources. Select the data source app you wish to modify. You can allow which data is shared between the apps.

If you don’t have a medical device with app that writes to your smartphone (such as a thermometer), you can easily add the information directly into Health App.   To add a temperature reading: Tap Health Data (at the bottom of the main screen) > List (at top of screen) > Vitals > Body Temperature then “Add Data Point”.   Enter your temperature reading.

You can manually add data points on just about any health aspect.

Built in Step Counter

In addition to creating a comprehensive health picture, you don’t have to buy an expensive pedometer in order to count your steps. Apple Health has a built in tracker that automatically counts your steps, stairs and running distance throughout the day and provides you with a daily, weekly and monthly summary. You don’t have to turn the feature on. It is working all the time even it the app is not open. However, if you don’t carry your phone with you when you walk or run, the data won’t be accurate.

But, if you don’t to wear your tracking device (i.e.:  it doesn’t match your outfit 😉 ), as long as you have your phone with you, your steps are still counted.

Medical ID

Apple Health Dashboard Screen ShotIn the Apple Health app you can create a Medical ID to be used in an emergency or for reference when you are at the doctor’s office. You can store important information like:

  • Medical conditions
  • Medical Notes
  • Allergies & Reactions
  • Medications
  • Blood Type
  • Organ Donor
  • Emergency Contacts

I have friends who have their aging parents store their medical information in the app so it is with them at all doctor visits.

The information in your medical ID is not shared with other apps and you can specify to make it viewable when your iPhone is locked by tapping Emergency then, Medical ID.

Personal Dashboard

You can elect which Health Data you want to see on your Dashboard for quick access. You can show any of over 50 health aspects such as; calories, heart rate, blood pressure, caffeine, blood alcohol content, fiber, etc.  To add items to the Dashboard:  Tap Health Data > All.   Tap the desired heath category then tap Show on Dashboard (slide to green).

The dashboard gives you a quick overview of what is most important to you. You can see your trend by day, week, month or year in a flash.

Android Users

Google Fit App Icon Comprehensive health app journalGoogle offers a similar app for Android users called Google Fit that you will need to download. It is free and automatically tracks your steps. It also takes input from a wide variety of health and fitness apps to give you a more complete health picture. It is not as full featured as Apple Health but I am sure its features will continue to expand.

Google Fit makes your health record available on your Android smartphone, tablet, watch or browser. The app is not available as a download for iOS users.


Google Fit Screen Shots

Instead of keeping a written health journal or health information scattered between apps, Apple Health and Google Fit allow you to have a comprehensive log in a single place that you have with you no matter where you and whenever you need it – even when it is unexpected.

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