My wife has suffered Hypothyroidism for many years, but its only over the past 12 months that we really understood that. It’s difficult to get the right treatment in the UK, but we’ve been very lucky to have spent time with Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield, who has helped enormously.
But therein lies the problem. In order to design the correct regime for my wife to follow, Dr Peatfield needs a wealth of data. Both my wife and I have struggled with keeping track of various paper diaries, private tests, medication schedules and symptom tracking. At times of great stress, and when the brain fog descends, its the last thing we need. It’s ironic that the time she should be most diligent in recording information also happens to be when my wife is least capable of doing so.
I work in the financial services industry as a User Experience Architect, so it struck me that perhaps there was a way to use technology to solve these problems. Apple’s new Health app and the emergence of devices that communicate via HealthKit, such as the excellent Kinsa Thermometer and Qardio Blood Pressure monitor, mean that its now possible to record vital signs, manage medication and note symptoms on your iPhone. What’s missing is a way to bring all of those things together in one simple, intuitive app, and so the idea for Butterfly was born.
Many of Butterfly’s features have been included as a result of problems that my wife and I have experienced over the last year. For instance, we designed a printed worksheet which allowed her to keep track of what meds to take and when, but that became quite challenging to use once my wife had a few ‘down’ days and was late taking some of them. What we needed was an easy way to re-schedule the taking of subsequent meds, so that became one of the priority features for Butterfly.
We had another worksheet to record symptoms, but there were so many of them to track it became too unwieldy, and was difficult to complete. What we needed was a way to choose which symptoms to make a note of, and a simple way of rating the severity, so that became another priority feature.
And then, of course, we had the problem of communicating all of this information with Mr Peatfield. Some times we gave him far too much information to digest, and other times we just didn’t provide enough. I suspect that the format of the reports we sent didn’t help either. So, Butterfly has been designed to easily share data, charts and customisable reports in a variety of ways.
Butterfly has quickly become a labour of love for me, and I’m really excited to see what happens now she’s started to flap her wings. It’ll be some time yet before Butterfly hits the app store, but with the help of the various thyroid support communities and fora around the world, I’m hoping I’ll be able to launch something that is truly useful for you all.
Wish me luck!