In addition to test results, the other exciting feature we’ve just released is a personal health diary that will allow patients to log their health status. We built this specifically for the Thalidomide Trust, whose beneficiaries needed to keep track of their rare and complex conditions, but we also started receiving requests for COPD and diabetes patients.
The feature is well worth putting the effort into. If you’ve ever found yourself at the doctor describing a health problem and struggling to remember exact details (How long has my back been hurting? Was it two or three months ago that it started? or, How many times have I had dizzy spells lately?) then this feature will be helpful for you and even more so for your doctors and nurses.
One of the commonest complaints of clinicians and relatives is that patients, when asked “How have you been?”, instinctively say “I’ve been all right, thank you.” It is a combination of forgetting the previous bad events, and wanting to please clinicians, that leads patients to say this.
A diary allows both patients and clinicians to build up a richer and more accurate picture of the problem and its trajectory. And their relatives, who often cannot be at the appointment, but have been looking after the patient through illness, feel a lot better knowing that the clinician will really know what’s happened.
The first iteration of this feature is what is essentially a basic blog; the patient can also attach files, e.g. a photo of a rash. The patient then chooses what to share from the diary with his/her clinicians, and when.
Down the road we plan to add in forms to report specific symptoms and events (pain, fever, cough, etc.) and scales in order to build up a more structured, easily accessible profile of the patient’s history. We will also add tools for researchers in clinical trials to analyse the diaries of patients who want to take part in these trials.