Fact or fiction? Mobile symptom tracking applications can significantly improve quality-of-life for patients with chronic illnesses. Answer: Depends who you ask. Sometimes the answer is “I believe its fact, but we need studies to prove it. Until then, its fiction.”

My son turned 1 in November of 2009. Here’s a picture of me at his first birthday party.

I may be smiling, but I was faking happiness. My face was swollen from meds, I was in constant pain and I was worried that I’d miss my son blowing out his 1st candles due to symptoms of my illness.

Here’s a current pic…1 year later. The smile is for real this time (and happy 2nd bday to my little boy).

2009 was a terrible health year for me, but it would have been much worse if I didn’t participate in my own wellness. I used GI Monitor, the mobile symptom tracking app. I developed, to monitor my symptoms and make great treatment decisions with my doctors. This is not an endorsement for my product, but rather an endorsement for the process of Participatory Health using mobile technology.

Today I am in remission and my doctor and I know what treatments/diets/meds worked along with exact dosages that cause good and bad reactions. I am better prepared for the next period of disease activity and I’m hopeful that I’ll stay in remission longer due to what I’ve learned about my body.

On the commercial side of my business, we are in the process of proving the beneficial health outcomes of Participatory Health using our mobile symptom tracking technology. Clinical proof using legacy standards will allow my business to generate revenue and continue innovating. At current, the only proof I have is my own experience and personal correspondence with hundreds of patients that have benefited from the use of our application.

My plea to fellow innovators in the mobile health space is to apply instinct and logic first and worry legacy proof later. Its certainly not easy, since innovation requires funding and funding requires some element of proof. But its much more important to correspond with patients and understand what works and what doesn’t, than it is to survey their statistics. If you want to know if something is helping someone, let’s not underestimate the power of asking them. If you’re not personally using the product or service you’re developing, become very close with the patients that are.

My son just turned 2 and I wasn’t worried about missing him blowing out the candles (both on his real cake and his virtual iPad cake). n=1 Looking forward to n=10,000.

Know Yourself Well,