Using Your Phone to Manage Your Health

Remembering your medication.  If you have trouble remembering to take your medication every day, using your phone to remind you may help.    While there are customizable apps you can download for a smartphone, even people with old-style phones can try:

  • A free text reminder service. lets you set up a text message to be sent to your phone every time your medicine is due.

  • Setting the alarm on your phone to ring at “pill time” every day.

Track your health calendar.   Sometimes it’s important to keep track of your health issue on a daily basis.  Over a period of weeks or months, it’s hard to keep all the dates and details in your head.    Charting your symptoms on a calendar helps you and your doctor follow the pattern for important changes, such as:

  • An asthma diary for children who need their rescue medicine frequently

  • A menstrual diary for girls with irregular periods

  • A headache diary for kids suffering from migraines

If you have a phone handy, you can use its calendar application to record your symptoms as they happen.  Sometimes you can even export the calendar to share with your doctor.

 Scanning information.   Hard to remember Tylenol or ibuprofen dosing instructions?  Keep losing the dosing chart that has them?  Use the barcode scanner on your phone to scan a QR barcode like this one, and the information you need will go straight to your phone. 


Weird spells?   Sometimes families tell us about an unusual symptom or behavior that’s hard to describe.  A child might make a funny noise when they breathe or make strange movements with their arms or legs.  If we can see it, we can often tell quickly whether it’s OK or something more concerning.   If the child isn’t doing it in the office, make a quick video using the camera on your phone.   In many cases, that’s enough for us to make a quick assessment and set your mind at ease.

Try a photo list.  Many times people make a list of the questions they’d like to ask at their next doctor visit – only to leave the list at home!   Keeping the list in your phone’s notepad application may work.  

Another possibility is a photo reminder list – take snapshots of things you need to “bring” to your next appointment.   For example, you might take two pictures to “bring” to an appointment:

  • A doctor’s business card (to remind us to get your child’s records from that doctor)

  • A prescription bottle (to show us what your child’s specialist has been prescribing)

A quick review of your phone’s “camera roll” will let us go through all the things we need to discuss.