A number of reports have highlighted how medical apps have come to the fore as the emergency services in the US responded to Hurricane Sandy. For instance, a mobile app developed by the Red Cross emerged as one of the most popular downloads during the severe weather.

The Hurricane by Red Cross app has tips for how those exposed to the extreme conditions should keep themselves safe. Mobihealthnews reported that average daily downloads of the Red Cross app rocketed during the crisis from a figure of 369 earlier in the month up to 66,000 between 25-30 October.

Meanwhile a mobile app originally designed for the homeless has been repurposed to help those who have lost their homes in New Jersey because of Hurricane Sandy. The Homeless Connections app enables emergency responders, volunteers and community organisations to direct storm victims to their closest medical, food, clothing or shelter, according to the Binary Group, the developer behind the app.

The same app has historically been used to support homeless people by enabling volunteers to direct them to shelters and soup kitchens.

Elsewhere a doctor who operated on a patient at Mount Sinai hospital in New York just after the hurricane said he used an app to send updates about her condition to the patient’s family.  Dr William Inabnet was quoted in a press release by MDconnectme, the company behind the app. As well as the app, the company has developed a platform for sending texts or email updates to any device.

The app uses pre-filled status updates which can be sent to list of friends and families chosen by the patient. Updates can also be sent internationally, as in the case of Inabnet’s post-hurricane patient who was from Europe, said the release.