Header photo Credit: HealthCentral

As a person living with a chronic illness, I probably have more doctor appointments throughout the year than a person who doesn’t have a disease. For my psoriasis, I see my dermatologist at a minimum of 6 times a year. I also have to see a gynecologist for my women’s health, a general physician for regular checkups, and soon I may have to see a rheumatologist for the joint pain I sometimes experience. When a person lives with a chronic condition, they are more likely to suffer from other diseases, hence experiencing more visits to the doctor. As a patient, I have the taxing task of ensuring I update all of my doctors on my current health status, which includes medicines, treatments, or new diagnoses. Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep track of the doctor’s orders, so I’ve learned a few tricks through technology to help me stay organized. Here are 3 ways I use technology to keep better track of my health:

I use the app Abridge

Recently a friend told me about the Abridge app. This app allows you to record your health care appointments, transcribes them to text, and picks up on medical keywords regarding your health. I used it during a nurse visit for training on a new treatment I will be starting for my psoriasis. For me, sometimes, doctor appointments can be overwhelming; thus, I miss some of what the doctor is saying. This app allows you to record the conversation, go back to listen, and highlight the essential parts of the conversation, so you don’t have to listen to the entire appointment. You can also share it with others, such as caregivers or physicians. I never want to accidentally misquote the doctor, so this is a useful tool when I need to pass along pertinent information to my other doctors on new treatments and health issues.

 I sign up for my doctors patient portals

I was once against signing up for a patient portal account for my different doctor offices, I felt I had enough online accounts to keep track of; however, I now see the importance. I am a person who uses different medicines to manage my psoriasis, so it’s crucial for me to keep track of all the drugs I’m currently on. A patient portal is an online application that allows patients to communicate with the doctor’s office. This is an online portal that will enable you to review medicines prescribed, diagnosis, and test results. You can print this information and take it to other doctor appointments. You can also schedule appointments and communicate with medical staff through portal email, which is typically answered in 24-48 hours.

I keep track of my symptoms

I notice that sometimes I will experience “symptoms” but will disregard them for being related to my chronic illness. Sometimes, it’s the opposite, where I’m experiencing certain things, and I prematurely attribute it to my psoriasis without knowing for sure. For example, I was having back pain and attributed it to psoriatic disease, but I had also started doing new workouts. It was determined that I was doing some of the exercises wrong, hence causing my back pain. Another time I was having feminine related issues. I kept track every time I would have the problem and shared it with my doctor, we discovered that it was a side effect of the medicine I was using for my psoriasis. It’s important to keep track of your symptoms over time to trace a patterned, which will make it easier for the doctor to figure out the direct cause. Symptoms could stem from seasonal changes, menstrual, stress, and much more.d

In what ways do you choose to keep track of your health? What are your biggest challenge when it comes to doctor appointments?

This article is sponsored by Abridge. All opinions and thoughts are my own.