May 22, 2010

An App For That

Since the precise cause of Bertrand's problems is still unknown, we have to take a scientific view on Bertrand's treatment.

To put it a little too dispassionately, Bertrand, to us, is a laboratory experiment.

We track all of his activities, all of his inputs and all of his outputs.

And, we look for patterns and correlations. Mostly, we look at the effects of things like changes in diet, medication levels and sleeping patterns to see if they have an effect on his seizure levels. It's important to log everything so that we don't succumb to personal impressions.

Until very recently, we did all of this with pencil and paper logs and an occasional mass transcription into a spreadsheet.

This approach got to be tedious. We were always wondering where we'd last had the logbook. And typing up all that data was a real pain.

So, I created an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch/web application for Bertrand's medical log. Now, whenever we're within reach of a cell phone, Bertrand's iPad or a computer, we have access to his medical log. The result has been a major quality of life improvement for us, and for Bertrand.

We now have all of his log data in an easily queried form, and we have it with us at all times.

Here's a screen shot of the app on the iPhone:

It's pretty simple. It's just a series of "events" by day. Each event has a time, a type and an amount associated with it. One feature I added during his ACTH treatment was a running calorie/fluid intake counter at the bottom of each day:

We discovered from this that Bertrand was drinking over 2 liters in fluids each day--twice his recommended level.

To speed data entry, when you click on the type of event, it gives you the option of any type of event that's happened within the last 3 days:

Since there's a small set of activities we track, we almost never have to do any typing on our iPhones, which makes it quick and easy to make log entries. By selecting an entry, we can change its time, and we can choose to duplicate it for right now, or delete it:

Finally, it looks great on the iPad, where we can see almost a day's worth of info at a time:

Last week, when I was in Washington, D.C., I found myself repeatedly checking the app on my phone to see how Bertrand was doing.

So, yeah, there's now an app for that.

[I wrote a post on my blog about how to create native-looking iPhone apps in HTML, CSS and JavaScript if anyone is interested in the technical details; the source code is available there as well.]


  1. thanks for having us over today! it was a lot of fun and the food was GREAT! ...and AWESOME app by the way...I think it's pretty cool you can create apps...especially to help make your lives easier :)

    i hope the next few weeks go good for little Bertrand. XOXO

  2. Matt, THAT is really, really cool!! Color me impressed :)

    Give B and Cristina a hug from us!

  3. That is pretty amazing. I have a bunch of little booklets around the house with illegible scribbles. I know though, the doctors will only listen to scientific evidence so that is a good approach.

  4. WOW! Hoping you don't mind if I share this - it is going into twitterdom in minutes! Barbara