With over 165,000 health apps available today, consumers and providers alike often need some help in selecting those that are safe, credible, functional, and effective. University of Utah Health Care’s (UUHC) consumer app service – the U-Bar – opened in February 2016 to address this need. Located at University Hospital in the Hope Fox Eccles Health Library, the U-Bar allows patients and visitors to test-drive a collection of vetted health apps, get assistance with installing and using them on their own devices, and compare various wearable devices.
It’s a novel service, and one of only a handful in the nation. The inter-professional team that developed the U-Bar is interested in seeing how it grows, as the dynamics of consumer engagement change with an increasingly technology-connected patient population.
To aid that growth, the team has enhanced the service since opening:
- Added a U-Bar webpage to the University Health Care site. The webpage lists the apps currently available in the vetted collection. These apps focus on wellness, nutrition, fitness, diabetes, women’s health, and more. You can hover over the app names to read a brief description of each one. Showcased wearables are available for purchase in the hospital gift shop.
- Strengthened the credibility of the app collection by enlisting SocialWellth, a leader in digital health, to conduct future vetting and cultivation. The methodology SocialWellth uses will provide the reassurance providers want when recommending apps and wearable devices to their patients.
- Created a new Epic order that enables providers to prescribe an app or wearable device from the U-Bar for their patients.
- Expanding to additional UUHC clinics.
The U-Bar is staffed 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and no appointment is necessary. A staff of friendly students recruited from the College of Health will greet you; they know the apps and wearables inside and out, and can answer any of your questions.
Are you a health care professional interested in learning more?
Members of the U-Bar team have also been presenting locally at staff and committee meetings, and the Imagine Perfect Care open house. In August, you can see us at the Be Well Utah event. In addition, team members have presented at national conferences, receiving accolades and tons of questions. And the team always welcomes additional members!
Contact Heidi Greenberg, email@example.com, if you are interested in getting involved or in conducting mobile health technology-related research.
by: Heidi Greenberg, Research Associate