A new, free iPhone app called Caremap is available to help parents keep track of their children’s health. Parents of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and other complex medical conditions will find it particularly helpful, but it is designed for use by all parents, developers of the app say.
The app, designed for iPhone and iPad, securely stores vital medical information that can be shared with healthcare professionals when attending a routine office visit or in case of an emergency. The app can be used to track health metrics that are critical to inform a child’s care.
Laurie Glader, MD, director of the Complex Care Service Outpatient Program and co-director of the Cerebral Palsy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, served as a consultant during Caremap’s development. She believes the app may improve routine care by sparking the dialogue between families and healthcare providers, as well as actually documenting what’s been happening with a child.
“Families can track a symptom or something else they’re worried about and see patterns over time,” Glader said in a press release. “The parent can say, ‘That’s actually better since such-and-such has been under control,’ or a provider can point out, ‘Look how much more frequently that’s happening now.’ If we start a new medication, they can track how their child responds. But the most important part of the app is that everything is centered on the family’s goals and priorities.”
Particular parameters such as allergies and emergency action plans can all be stored in Caremap. The app also allows parents to track exercise, mood, pain, or sleep, as well as school attendance or temper tantrums daily, so trends and patterns can be identified – for instance, if the child exercises more, do pain measurements improve? The information can then be shown to medical providers, teachers, family members, caregivers and others, or sent by a PDF snapshot via email.
“We wanted to provide a trusted and much-needed resource that would harness the patient voice and family perspective,” Michael Doktor, MD, clinical leader of Caremap, said. “The ability to track custom parameters provides an important window into patients’ lives that is not captured in the electronic health record, but is important to families.”
“Effectively managing communication between numerous providers who care for a child with medical complexity can be a full time job for parents,” added David Y. Ming, MD, Caremap clinical advisor. “So much effort is required to keep track of the details that often the ‘bigger picture’ perspective can get overlooked. The priority with Caremap is not only to organize relevant clinical details, but also to highlight the overall care goals. This will allow providers to know the child’s medical problems and understand directly from parents what matters most for their child and what makes their child unique. These features make this a particularly exciting opportunity to improve care for children with medical complexity.”
The Caremap app is still under development and more functions are meant to be added over time. One of the first objectives is to connect the app to Cerner and Epic, two of the largest electronic medical systems. Secure cloud connectivity is also planned for a near future.