This is a rough software idea that anyone is welcome to take and make a product out of, if it doesn’t exist. Or maybe someone will say, “JEEZE, Dave, I’ve been trying to tell you for years that this is what we DO!”
Any vendor with such a product is welcome to say so, commercially with links, in the comments.
I want an easy tool – ideally an app with matching website – that helps me keep track of recurring symptoms and what I’m doing about them.
At 63, I have a number of things going on that probably won’t amount to anything, but when conspicuous out-of-the-ordinary symptoms persist, I’d like to keep track of them. At the moment it’s my feet: in March I started having intermittent pain that comes and goes. (See An encounter with the Swiss medical system.) Back then it appeared to perhaps be gout (it felt like that picture.) But now it seems not to be.
Pain gets your attention, and quickly trains you to want to manage it. Last week a mild episode started, and this time it hasn’t cleared up by itself. Then the other morning I woke up with swelling and burning pain. It was so bad that I wondered if I have a recurrence of my cancer, in the form of bone mets (metastases).
My doctor and I agreed I should get an x-ray. It’s not mets, so that brings us back to tracking this thing, so we can manage it. (Anyone who’s worked in quality improvement knows you can’t manage what you can’t track.)
Whatever this is – ordinary old-age arthritis, or RAWarrior Kelly Young’s more glamorous (ugh) rheumatoid disease, or even if it’s just my imagination, I believe in early detection, and like any e-patient (empowered and engaged), I’m happy to do my part in tracking it: pain level and location, when I took ibuprofen and how much, general impressions.
But we need a tool that’s available when we need it, and easy enough that ordinary people will use it.
This information doesn’t belong in today’s EMR systems – it would clutter them ridiculously. It belongs with me, but should be accessible to my doctor to dig through if need be. That means the data should be well organized – not just raw notes (on paper or computer).
There’s got to be a market for an easy-to-use pain tracker tool like this, right?
Does one exist?