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7 apps for female physicians who juggle multiple roles

At present, women represent 47.9% of dermatologists in Canada and the U.S. (International Journal of Dermatology Feb. 2018; 57(2):171–176). Due to prevailing societal standards, these women often assume competing priorities in their professional and personal lives. Usually, the commitments that female dermatologists (and female professionals in general) have are more demanding than those of their male colleagues, according to the medical director of the RKS Dermatology Centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, during her presentation at the Women in Dermatology Leadership Meeting in Toronto.

“I love my husband. He tries. But he can’t cook, he can’t clean,” said Dr. Marissa Joseph, who is also a staff physician at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and a clinician teacher in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. “At home I’m expected to do a lot of things. And at work I’m expected to do those things as well.”

Technology in the form of smartphone apps can help female physicians manage both their professional and personal duties. An article last week highlighted the apps that Dr. Joseph uses to maximize her and her staff’s productivity. Below are some of the apps that she uses outside of the office, in her roles as wife and mother.

“As we look to new graduates and residents, we are over-represented by women which is great . . . but that poses new challenges in terms of trying to balance our time,” said Dr. Joseph.

1. Mint, Wally, RoosterMoney

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Dr. Joseph uses a combination of apps to manage her personal finances. She uses Mint primarily to manage her multiple accounts including credit cards, retirement funds, and educations funds for her children. It automatically updates and categorizes account information. Mint also makes recommendations to help users prioritize their savings by analyzing thousands of checking, savings, credit card, and brokerage offers.

Wally is a similar app that Dr. Joseph uses to scan receipts in real time, making it easier to record household expenses.

For her colleagues with older children, Dr. Joseph recommends the allowance app called RoosterMoney. It lets users keep track of their children’s spending habits.

“This keeps the kids accountable. It also teaches them about how much they’re spending and their lifestyle,” said Dr. Joseph.

2. Waze, Flight Tracker

For physicians who are always on-the-go, travel and navigation apps can be effective time-savers. Waze is a community-based app that provides user-submitted travel times and route details as well as turn-by-turn navigation information. Flight tracking apps like FlightAware can also help users plan ahead when flying from one place to another, as they monitor flight statuses in real time.

3. Instapaper

Instapaper is a platform that saves web pages offline for later use. It allows users to read journals, articles, recipes, or even watch videos whenever they may have some downtime.

“If you’re taking a flight you can read things that you have been meaning to get to,” said Dr. Joseph.

4. Audible

Sometimes, even finding time to read for a few minutes can be difficult for female physicians. Audible is a tool that they can use to listen to novels, articles, and podcasts.

“Audible changed my life because I am an avid reader, but I just don’t have time,” said Dr. Joseph. “It’s allowed me to complete novels on-the-go, driving to work, all those sorts of things. So that’s something that I like to do for myself.”

5. Google Photos, Keepy

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Organizing and displaying family photos and videos is another task that working mothers often do not have time for. Google Photos automatically keeps track of photos and generates slideshow presentations out of material from various devices.

“It’s a nice little prompt in the middle of my stressful day to get a little montage of my family vacation from five years ago,” said Dr. Joseph.

For those with younger children, Keepy is an app that archives children’s artwork, schoolwork, and other unique mementos. With the app, parents can scan and store their children’s work. There is even a feature where users can record audio and video clips explaining the stories behind each memory. Other family members can also sign up as “fans” to access the children’s projects.

“I have a very young child and he has lots of art that he brings from different sources,” said Dr. Joseph. “Ultimately, they will end up in the garbage, but I do love him. This is a way to keep track and have a repository over time.”

6. Allrecipes: Dinner Spinner

Dinner Spinner is a tool for those who are responsible for food preparation in their homes. It can be used to create weekly recipes. It also automatically generates shopping lists based on the recipes that users select or create, which they can share with their nannies or partners.

7. 7 Minute Workout, MyFitnessPal

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With over 10 million users the 7 Minute Workout is composed of 12 expertly-designed exercises that can be performed in seven minutes. These workouts can reportedly achieve the equivalent of an hour-long exercise routine. MyFitnessPal is a free app that allows users to keep track of their caloric intake on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

“If you can find some of these things to help you with self care, giving you a few prompts, that may be good,” said Dr. Joseph.

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