Mobile Apps From The US Government

5 Useful Mobile Apps From The US GovernmentFor the US Government, technology and data are top priorities. In March 2012, six federal agencies joined forces to announce a $200 million investment in analytic resources. These groups include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the US Geological Survey.

“By improving our ability to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data, the initiative promises to help some of the nation’s most pressing challenges,” according to an Office of Science and Technology Policy statement.

From civil engineering to public health, defense, and environmental efficiency, new technologies have the potential to empower citizens, educate communities, and fuel scientific research. Here are five US governament mobile apps that are leading the charge:

1. Healthcare

Education is a core component of virtually all public health programs. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an influenza app to connect clinicians and health professionals with up-to-date recommendations on disease activity, vaccines, and subject matter experts.

Medical teams can leverage this platform to improve communication with their patients — in near real time via iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.

2. Food Safety

Have questions about your cooking? Should you use a wooden cutting board or a plastic one? What foods aren’t safe to leave outside of the refrigerator overnight? Can you re-freeze defrosted food?

The answers to these questions are invaluable to yours and your family’s well-being. That’s why the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched Ask Karen, an app to connect consumers with answers to their basic food safety question. With your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you can connect with food safety experts in real-time.

“Making food safety information easily accessible to consumers when they most need it is an important tool in preventing foodbourne illness,” said USDA Under Secretary Dr. Elisabeth Hagan in a release.

3. First Aid

Accidents happen, and when they do, you’re likely caught off guard. Instead of scrambling for help, just turn to the American Red Cross’s First Aid App. This resources comes with videos, interactive quizzes, and step-by-step advice for common emergencies.

Content comes pre-loaded so even if you don’t have Internet connectivity, you’ll still have the information you need. You can even call EMS at any time using the app’s 911 integration.

Keep in mind, that the American Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency. The app, however, is available in the US Government’s mobile downloads gallery.

4. Smoker Support

Smoking is a dangerous habit that’s tough to kick. Quitting is crucial, however, for consumer health. ”Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States,” according to the CDC.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is leveraging mobile technology to support smokers change their behaviors. QuitPal provides smokers with tangible tools to track their progress — establishing quit dates, monitoring financial goals, and setting reminders. The app helps smokers visualize how much money they’re saving by not smoking.

You can even create a video diary, connect with social networks to share key milestones, and research tips on a regular basis. Smokers who need an added level of counseling, motivation, and social connection have access to NCI’s Cancer Information Service via toll-free call or live chat.

5. Family Care

As America’s baby boomers approach retirement age, eldercare is growing into a top priority for families. Good resources are not always easy to find or accessible — to meet that need, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an _Eldercare locator app_ to connect users with services for local adults and their families.

The app facilitates searches by zip code, city, or topic including Alzheimer’s disease, financial assistance, elder abuse prevention, in-home services, housing, home repair, and transportation.

What these five apps share in common is an ability to position technology as an empowering consumer resource. Quit smoking, navigate an emergency, call someone for support, get your questions answered, and make sure that you’re eating as healthy as possible — the government is offering resources you need to live better. Human to human.