The first weeks of each new year bring articles from the various lifestyle and activity magazines to publish their articles about the “Smartest Gadgets” or “the Perfect Gear You Need to Have.” In that spirit, we present this article about five essential apps from Independent Health you just can’t go without.

Think you have enough apps on your phone and don’t need any more? You may need these someday and they will come in handy when you do.

The best part? These are all free with your Independent Health membership*. 


Independent Health’s MyIH app first introduced its MyIH app in 2012 and promptly earned a Gold Health Web Award which recognized the nation’s best digital health resources. Over the years, our Digital team has continued to improve and enhance the app, which packs a ton of features into its convenient mobility.

Users can access up-to-date information about their benefits, a digital image of their ID cards so they’ll never be without it, and push notifications to keep them informed in real time. Other features provide graphic displays of the amount a member has spent toward their deductibles (for deductible plan members), along with easy access to drug formularies, and their Explanation of Benefits.    

Before you download MyIH, you’ll have to create your member account online.  Fortunately, it takes but a minute. That’s another thing our Digital team has made easy. 

Brook Health Companion

No, Brook isn’t a person, but rather a powerful mobile platform that combines healthcare expertise with technology. It offers the personal support and cheerleading we all need to get and stay healthy. 

Whether you are trying to eat better or manage a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, Brook gives you the support you need any day of the year, no appointment necessary. With Brook, you can keep track of all the things that impact your health in one place for a complete view of your health, and set up reminders to do things like take your medications as directed. You also get access to a team of dietitians and health educators who provide support personalized to your unique health profile.


Brook’s other app was developed specifically to address pre-diabetes, a condition that affects approximately 88 million people in the nation. Without intervention, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

The app is called Brook+ and is a CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program. Individuals take a quick survey to see if they meet the criteria to be part of this 12-month virtual program, and users have found it to be very accessible since it provides support and information, as well as virtual access to a health coach. Plus, the program works! Check out these powerful stories of success here, here, and here.


A lot of us find it difficult to carve out time to make a healthy meal. One study found 91 percent of parents make unhealthy meal choices because they’re too busy, and three out of four say they find it inconvenient to eat healthy. Others may not know where to begin when it comes to choosing heathier recipes or choices in their dietary habits.

Well, this nifty app can help fix all that.

Foodsmart is a telenutrition resource backed by a national network of registered dietitians. It was developed with the goal to nudge users to healthier food choices, lasting behavior change and long-term results. Foodsmart’s digital platform guides members through a personalized journey to eating well through dietary assessments and nutrition counseling, along with online food ordering and cost-effective meal planning.

Foodsmart includes recipe ideas that are not only healthy, they’re delicious. 

By becoming more aware of the way one eats is helpful as people decide what types of foods they should increase in their daily diets and the foods they should reduce.  In fact, a number of studies have found that nutrition apps are “effective and highly promising for changing nutrition behaviors and nutrition-related health outcomes.”  Fortunately, Independent Health members have Foodsmart.


At Independent Health, we think having a primary care physician (PCP) – and relying on the PCP – is key to staying on top of your care.  But, we also realize that there are still times when having a visit by phone or by video call is necessary.  Teladoc is offered by Independent Health that individuals can use for a variety of conditions, such as cold and flu symptoms, bronchitis, and respiratory infections to name a few. Teladoc even offers behavioral health and dermatology visits.

If you can’t get in touch with your doctor, Teladoc is a great tool. It’s easy to use, too. Depending on your plan, you may have a copay. But you won’t have to leave your bed. Unless you forgot to charge your phone.

All of these apps are available at an App Store near you. 

Independent Health has other tools, resources and apps that help our members use their health coverage. It’s our way of going well beyond insurance to help our members out. It’s almost like having 1,100 RedShirts in your back pocket.

*For commercial plans. Availability of these apps vary by line of business (e.g. Medicare, State Programs,) and any related costs may vary by self-funded group.

Photo: Nordwood Themes on Unsplash