Your Next Doctor Appointment Could Be From Your Phone

woman on couch cell phoneThe world is an app away. What will be invented next to make our lives easier? Your phone does everything. I can now see people I love everyday via FaceTime. And now thanks to the geniuses in Silicon Valley I can now see my doctor without having to wait in that long waiting room with all the magazines that I don’t like. I never thought I would see the day that going to the doctor’s office wasn’t a necessity because of our smart phones. In my heart I thought co-pays to ask basic questions would continue on, but it appears the universe is taking a different direction in my pocket’s favor.

Digital health initiatives are gaining major traction in low-income communities due to the rise of cell phones and the growing need for healthcare access to everyone. Even with health insurance, many African Americans still suffer from low-income problems such as getting back and forth to the doctor, co-pays and chronic diseases that require constant attention. A number of digital entrepreneurs are searching for new ways to get people seen without being seen.

The digital health industry received an estimated 4.5 billion in venture funding in 2015. Entrepreneurs are clamoring to get inside of this multi-billion dollar industry with their new ideas to get people with income challenges quality healthcare from the comfort of their homes and phones. Medicaid and Medicare serve as a medical saving grace for many African Americans who can’t afford private health insurance. These two social health care programs are searching for ways to pay these digital health programs for visits that don’t require in-person visits to the doctor.

Text4Baby is a free text-messaging service for pregnant women that offers an expansive range of information via app. This app will remind you about upcoming doctor’s appointments, provide information on prenatal care, labor and delivery tips, and update you on the developmental stages of your child. This saves you gas, time and money by downloading this awesome app. Text4Baby has served nearly 1 million women since 2010. According to a survey, over half of these women made less than $16,000 annually.

Good news for diabetes sufferers: Omada Health, digital therapeutics provider, provides each person with a personal health coach and online peer group for daily feedback and constant support. Their digital tools track every part of your health with the goal of preventative healthcare. Diseases such as diabetes won’t creep up on you with the daily watchful eye of this clinically-supported and evidence-based system. Omada guarantees results. Their smart technology comes ready to use once it hits your mailbox, so for all you non-tech-friendly people out there don’t fret.

For those who can’t afford to keep going to the doctor, Omada’s Prevent for Underserved Populations (PUP) initiative is the answer to this call. This program will be offered on a trial basis to three different sites in California and Washington. PUP is a digital year-long intensive behavioral counseling program designed to help lower the risk of disease that plague our people the most, such as heart disease and diabetes. The program offers 24 hour access to a health coach, peer support group, adapted curriculum options for people with low literacy levels and a wireless scale that sends data to Omada to track your health progress.

The help you’ve been looking for might be in your app store. It’s amazing what technology can do.

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Would you subscribe to a service where you can see a black doctor anytime via video chat for $19 a month?

Diabetes & Beer: The Nutrition Information Revealed

beer and pretzelsDoes beer have carbohydrate? How much carbohydrate is in a can of beer? How many calories are in a can of beer? Do all types of beer have the same carbohydrate content? As a diabetes educator these are the types of questions I’m asked on a daily basis — especially during the hot summer months. For people with diabetes it’s important to evaluate the calorie and carbohydrate content of all beverages and foods consumed. But finding the nutrition information for beer is not always easy. That is, until now.

READ: Black Men & Diabetes: Superfoods for Life

This month the Beer Institute introduced the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure initiative by which member companies like Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division and others, will voluntarily provide you with meaningful information about their products.

Through this initiative beer companies will change their labels or packaging to include calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol by volume, by including a serving facts statement. In addition, they will provide freshness dating, and disclose ingredients via a list, a reference to a website with the information, or a QR code. You’ll no longer have to wonder about the grams of carbohydrate or calories in beer.

“The Beer Institute, and its member companies, is proud of its commitment to quality and transparency,” says Dr. Joy Dubost RD, Senior Director of Science at the Beer Institute. Dubost, a registered dietitian, is keenly aware of how important nutrition labeling is for consumers — particularly those with diabetes. “We believe including a serving facts statement, which includes calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol by volume, on all products as well as disclosing ingredients will empower consumers when they make decisions regarding the beer of their choice.”

You can expect to see this information in the marketplace immediately and many companies have committed to provide this information on all of their product labels, packaging or websites by the end of 2020.