My teenage daughter is mortified that I use a flip phone. It is the ultimate embarrassment and she believes it affects her “cool” status even though she has her own iPhone. My phone does everything I need – I can text, make and receive phone calls and it even has a handy tip calculator.

It’s greatest feature? NO DISTRACTIONS.

I have a chromebook and desktop computer that allow me access to everything else I need online. My husband and friends have also been trying to convince me for years to switch over to a smartphone. Now that I’m pursuing a career in digital health technologies, I may have to give in.

Here are some digital health tools that are getting me closer to leaving my peaceful app-free existence:

  1. Planned Parenthood Spot On: Birth Control & Period Tracker

Planned Parenthood Birth Control & Period Tracker not only keeps track of ovulation, menstrual cycles, and any potential birth control issues, it also provides a gender neutral, non-judgmental supportive environment that similar apps don’t offer.


  • The app makes it really easy to contact or book an appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic
  • From a public health perspective, It’s a great resource to help improve access to healthcare
  • Although there are other menstrual trackers out there, this one comes from a trusted resource and is more likely to encourage people to seek follow up medical care
  1. Capsule: Online Prescription Delivery

Waiting to get prescriptions filled has always been stressful. Wouldn’t you love to eliminate that constant threat of potentially running into a friend while waiting to pay for your hemorrhoid cream. Even worse is having to return later because a drug is out of stock or not knowing the cost of the prescribed drug beforehand, and getting critical medication questions answered. Capsule addresses all of these issues and based on reviews, it does it well. It only exists in New York City but the minute that it hits Portland, my flip phone days will be over.


  • Fills new and existing prescriptions
  • Free delivery to your door within 2 hours
  • Coordinate refills with your doctor and co-pays with your insurance company
  1. Ford’s SafeCap: Hat used to prevent truck drivers from falling asleep on the road

This new wearable technology comes out of Ford’s trucking division in Brazil. They’ve placed sensors into a simple baseball hat to detect when a driver is in danger of falling asleep at the wheel. Vibrations, sounds, and lights alert the driver when they are about to nod off. They are still in the prototype phase but if all goes well, we’ll eventually see it come to the American marketplace.


  • Could also be used for people with health conditions, like sleep apnea, allowing them to safely driving long distances
  • Great alternative to relying on harmful stimulants to stay awake
  • It’s easy to use-you just stick it on your head
  1. Habitz: App that encourages healthy behaviors in kids

I used to fight it but I’ve now accepted the inevitable–kids love their smartphones. Habitz has found the sweet spot to please both parents and kids by rewarding healthy behaviors using engaging and interactive content to guide their choices.


  • Empowers kids to make healthy choices they’d usually ignore if their parents suggested it
  • Kids are using their screen time for something productive
  • Even though it’s an option, there is enough free rewards that you wouldn’t have to purchase a toy from Amazon
  1. First Aid by American Red Cross: Emergency preparedness app

This app could actually help save your life or someone else. It not only has easy to follow first aid instructions, it also gives disaster preparedness information for events like earthquakes and tornadoes. The only thing that could make this app better would be a button that zaps people who normally freeze up in emergency situations into taking action (yes, I’m talking about myself).


  • The app works without an internet connection
  • You can easily call 9-1-1 from within the app
  • They use videos and animations to help you learn first aid before a crisis occurs

Every new digital health innovation brings me one step closer to abandoning my app-free flip phone lifestyle. I’m very excited to see the effectiveness of new technologies as they transform the way we experience healthcare. I especially look forward to the day my daughter is no longer embarrassed to been seen with me in public, despite the type of phone I have.




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