JEFFERSON, La. - During your next doctor visit you could get a prescription to download an app.
That's because a local hospital is the first in the country to open a 'genius bar', where doctors have weeded out all the bad medical advice on the internet.
The sleek-looking hangout is not where you'd expect it to be. It's in a hospital doctor's clinic and wellness center, and if you belly up to this kind of bar wanting to lose your over-sized belly, or control your heart disease, well there's an app for that.
"The leading causes of chronic disease are primarily lifestyle, so if we can do some things to fundamentally attack the root cause,
then we've got a good way of making you stay healthy," explained Dr. Richard Milani, the Ochsner Transformation Officer and Vice chairman of the Department of Cardiology.
Ochsner created the O Bar, modeled after the Apple store Genius Bar. It's staffed by a technology expert who teaches you how to 'app' your way to better health. Best of all, it's free.
There are literally two to 300 medically-approved, vetted apps at the O Bar, from everything from how to store your food properly, lose weight, go through your pregnancy, manage your diabetes, your cancer and high blood pressure, quit smoking, and the list goes on and on and on.
"One of my other favorites is called Fooducate. That one is really awesome because it uses your phone to scan UPC codes on products' packaging and it will give you information like this has a lot of sodium or or it has a lot of additives. And then it will give it a grade on an A to D scale so you can say is this really good, or is this really bad. But what's really good about it is it will even give you alternatives," explained Braden Lemon, Ochsner's Retail Technology Specialist.
Sharon Tipton recently lost 67 pounds and is using apps and monitors to measure her sleep, blood pressure and exercise output.
"He also showed me that I can connect all of the data that I've been collecting on my iPhone health app, which I didn't realize that all connected. So I can look at a dashboard and see my blood pressure, my weight, my activity levels, everything all in one place," said Tipton, who is an Ochsner patient.
And those data can go directly to your doctor. Dr. Milani says that technical monitoring programs are already proving to keep people out of the hospital.
'Hospitals and Health Networks' magazine named Ochsner one of the most wired hospitals in the U.S. The O Bar is open on weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm.