Lupe & Brian: Welcome to another episode of Sjogren’s Strong.
Brian: This is Brian.
Lupe: And this is Lupe.
Brian: And this is your weekly show discussing how to live an active and healthy lifestyle despite having a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Lupe: And today we’re going to be talking about different apps that we found that ,um, you can use to manage your chronic illness.
Brian: So yeah, every once in a while, when I’m bored, I have nothing better to do. I will Google search apps for, fill in the blank. And I happened, over the weekend, to search apps for chronic illness and was actually pretty surprised that I found some.
Brian: To preface this, I’m a big proponent of one app doing multiple things. There is one app that will do multiple things and obviously that’s the one that I prefer rather than having multiple apps for multiple things.
Brian: But sometimes that one app isn’t going to manage, say an aspect of what it is you want to manage, as good as another one. So, finding that happy median is important.
Brian: So, Lupe, do you use any apps or your mobile device to manage or log or record or remind you, anything going on with you physically?
Lupe: I use an app for different things, but I never thought about using an app to manage my Sjogren’s. So, I’m actually glad that you googled that.
Brian: Some of the apps that we found, in different articles, were your typical note taking app, Ever Note, One Note, Asana, Trello. And again, they’re just note taking apps. So yeah, it’s a great place to compile information, even imagery, um, say the snapshot of your prescription bottle. However, we found some apps that will even send out alerts or sound an alarm when it’s time to take your meds. So we’re going to run through a few of these. Now, we have not played with any of them.
Lupe: No, no, not at all. But when we’re done with all these apps that we want to mention, I do want to talk about the ones that I do use for different things.
Brian: Yeah. Um, we’re going to run through these and Lupe is going to download and play with them for a little while and we’re going to do a follow-up show to this probably in three to four weeks, discussing the apps and we would love for all of you to play along.
Brian: So, if any of the apps that we mentioned, you want to try, try. Shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know which app, if you can a link to the APP and what you thought of the APP. We may just include in the follow-up episode to this in three to four weeks.
Lupe: I think it be cool to definitely include it, you know, get their feedback, plus my feedback, see if we had the same feedback.
Brian: Feedback’s good. The first one mentioned was MediSafe and it is an APP that helps you keep track of which medications you need to take and when. The days are divided into four quadrants, there’s even little graphical representations of the pills. Now, one thing that this app does do, is your physicians and pharmacists can access this data, if they happen to be on the Medisafe platform as well. Which, who knows if they are not at this point. If we have a script to pick up or a doctor appointment, you know, in the next four weeks, we’ll ask. But I’m guessing not.
Lupe: I bet that the doctors or wherever you go to, I bet they’ll direct you to a platform that they use. I bet.
Brian: Definitely. And with HIPAA being what it is, and everyone worried about being sued, I would find it hard to believe that a lot of doctors and or pharmacists are on platforms.
Brian: So, the second one we found is called Daylio, D A Y L I O. And this is a mobile diary, but there’s some customizing that you can do to it. So there’s little icons. I went on a date, I went to a movie, I read a book and you can add some notes to whatever it is you’re logging at that time.
Brian: So with a little imagination one can customize this to, you know, I took my morning pills, I took my afternoon pills, so on and so forth. And especially with brain fog, the important thing about logging what’s going on in your life is for that next doctor visit. You can crack open your log and go, yeah, these last, this block of four days was just really, really hard. And, and he or she might be able to help you get to the bottom of what’s going on for that time frame.
Lupe: I actually like that because right now what I use is a notebook, you know, little 5 x 7 notebook and sometimes I put it in my purse and sometimes I don’t. So, I mean, having these apps on your phone, you know, like you said, Brian, you carry your phone everywhere so you’ll always have it with you.
Brian: Yeah. The more information you choose to log, the easier it’s going to be for the medical professionals to maybe get to the bottom of what’s going on. For example, Lupe, will log food, what she’s consuming. And she’s been feeling really good lately. And when you go back through her logs, you can attribute that to foods she’s choosing to eat.
Lupe: You know, sometimes when you off your diet and you log that, you had ice cream or candy or whatnot and you kind of feel a little bit crappy, a few days later. So yeah, that’s a good idea.
Brian: Definitely. So the next APP we want to talk about is CareZone, one word, c a r e z o n e. And this app allows you to keep track of all your medical information, doctors, diagnosis’s treatments, medications, uh, refills, when they’re getting ready to pop.
Brian: It’s kind of an all-inclusive, however it does not include reminders from what we’ve seen so far. There are daily trackers. I am taking my meds, I am drinking my water and whatnot, but CareZone is the third APP on the list, on our short list.
Lupe: The next one we wanted to talk about is FlareDown. Actually, I don’t know why I think this is going to be my favorite.
Brian: The description, and again we haven’t played with any of these, were kind of excited about this one, though. The description says this was made for people with chronic illness as a way to track your symptoms, record treatments and reactions, track triggers, and connect with others who have similar conditions.
Brian: So there’s kind of a social element to this one as well. Um, there’s also places you can add notes. Um, what you ate, what you drink, weather, activities, whole nine yards. But Flare Down, by far just from what we’re reading, seems to be the most comprehensive.
Lupe: Yeah. And the next one we want to talk about is My Therapy.
Brian: My therapy, this is one that gives us reminders to take meds. We can track exercise and it also serves as a journal so we can write down how we’re feelings, signs, symptoms, um, anything like that, as well.
Brian: So, those were the apps that made the short list. I believe there’s five of them.
Brian: And we’re going to run through them by name and I will spell each one of them out. And again, we’re doing this because we’re 100% brand new to these five apps. We’ve never, we haven’t even downloaded them yet. Never heard of them until we started doing some research again over the weekend.
Lupe & Brian: So number 1, MEDISAFE – m e d I s a f e
Lupe & Brian: Number 2, DALIO – d a y l i o
Lupe & Brian: Number 3, Care Zone – c a r e z o n e
Lupe & Brian: Number 4 FLARE DOWN – f l a r e d o w n
Lupe & Brian: Number 5, MY THERAPHY – m y t h e r a p y
Brian: And according to our research, they are available for both Apple and android. In the show notes, there will be links to each app on each platform. But again, we really want you, our listeners, to play along, download an APP and give us your report back on what you thought about it.
Brian: Pluses, minuses, whether you think you will continue using it. How easy was it to use? You know, I’m one who will find a new cool piece of software and I’ll download it and I’ll play with a little while. But if it’s not something that I intuitively go back to solve whatever problem, it’s kind of falls to the wayside and I will eventually uninstall it and just, you know, get it out of my way.
Lupe: Actually, now, I want to talk about the apps that I actually do use. Obviously I use my Google calendar. You know what I been using to track my symptoms?
Lupe: It’s a Google spreadsheet. You could create a Google spreadsheet and you could either keep it to yourself, personal. Or you could share it with others. So like if I wanted Brian to know something or whatever it is, you know, we could share the same doc and he could update it, I could update it. Uh, but that’s, that’s a cool one to use.
Lupe: I also use Notes and you could go into that app and you could have many, many, many notes. And I’m looking at my phone right now and I have 72 notes in my phone, you know, different notes for various things, whatever’s important to me, what meds you’re on.
Lupe: You know, like when I was in school, my password, you know, all that kind of stuff. But I like, uh, I like Notes.
Lupe: And to track my food, see it’s a lot of apps. So it’d be cool to have just one. But to track my food, I do use my Fitbit APP, not only to track my steps or my workouts, you can also log how much water you’re consuming and what you’re eating.
Brian: So, that one APP, we’ll cover three things, exercise ,actually more exercise, food and caloric intake, hydration, water intake. It tracks sleep if you wear your Fitbit device during the evening. And it also tracks caloric burn.
Lupe: And it tracks, um, weight loss or weight gain. So there’s this, um, scale that you could buy, you know, when you buy a Fitbit and they kind of sync, so when you weigh yourself in the morning, boom, automatically you.
Brian: Yeah, it syncs with the Fitbit app on your phone and tracks your weight. But you can also manually add your weight as well.
Lupe: Yeah, yeah. So I use that. I bought, uh, not a journal, but like a daily planner that has big daily spaces and, you know, I like to track my weight on that or what I eat, my symptoms, you know, so. So that helps me a little bit. But the thing is that sometimes your purse gets too heavy. You take out your notebook, I’ll put it back when I get home or whatever and you never do. Next thing you know, week gone by and you haven’t written down anything in your notebook. So, APPs is a good idea and I’m very excited to use Flare Down
Brian: And we’ve talked about it before and yes, it’s a pain in the butt to whip out your phone and log what you’re eating or calculate how many calories are in that plate of whatever it is you’re going to consume. But if you do and you have this data, you can go back and look at it and things will emerge out of it.
Brian: Um, for example, you’re not sleeping well and you go back and look at data and you haven’t been consuming as much water as you should be. And you compare that to a week, three months ago when you consumed water like crazy and you slept like a rock star. You’ll start to see those patterns emerge. And again, yes, it’s a pain in the butt. Um, Google Keep, that’s another great note taking app that’s on desktop as well. Same with the Notes app that come on an iPhone. You can access those notes on your desktop as well.
Brian: So finding what’s easiest for you, what works best for you, what’s all encompassing, is going to make the task of recording this data easier. And again, we encourage you all to follow along with us. Again, these apps, the links to them for Apple and Google or Android will be in the show notes below and we’d really love to hear your feedback and maybe you found a feature we didn’t. So we thought this APP wasn’t as awesome as we thought it was going to be, but you found a feature that made it totally cool. So I think if we collaboratively share via email here over the next three to four weeks, again email@example.com, we can maybe compile a shorter list than these five and recommend them to all of those that listened to Sjogren’s Strong and that are in the Living Sjogren’s Strong group on Facebook.
Lupe: And you can also send an email via messenger, if you’d like to do that as well on Instagram or Facebook.
Brian: Well, you got anything else, young lady.
Lupe: Uh, thank you for calling me young lady.
Lupe: Um, I also wanted to mention that for my meds, I actually like using the clock on the phone and I’m talking about the alarm clock app and I have about 10 alarms. You know, the alarm that wakes me up in the morning. Actually I don’t even need an alarm, I just wake up.
Lupe: But um, I have, um, an alarm for the morning and for the evening for my meds. So, you know, that helps a little bit, as well.
Lupe: But, uh, I’m excited to try these new apps out because I want to have everything in one place.
Brian: Or as few places as possible.
Lupe: Yeah. The more control we take over our care, the better off we’re going to be in the long run. It doesn’t matter if you use an app or pen and paper, but the act of keeping simple notes can help you and your doctor make better informed decisions in managing your chronic illness.
Lupe: Until next time, sip constantly and stay hydrated.