As part of its “Bright Futures” Initiative, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a wealth of information for parents to better manage their children’s health. While their Healthy Children’s App provides that information in an easy to use format, the “Child Health Tracker” app takes it a step further to give parents tools to easily manage their child’s health.
The app is structured around a user’s individual children. Via the My Children tab on the homescreen, users can input a wealth of health information about their children, from demographics to medications (inputting medications enables a useful medication tracker functionality with notifications and easy adherence tracking).
Through each child’s page, users can easily input heights and weights to populate a growth chart or input a detailed family history.
But the most useful aspect is the visit tab. The visits are based on the AAP’s recommended well-child visit schedule. Users can obtain the Bright Futures handout for that visit, obtain the Bright Futures pre-visit questionnaire (which can be printed or emailed), get a customized list of immunizations the child is due for (if prior vaccines have been inputted), and a useful, albeit outdated patient-friendly immunization schedule (the 2013 schedule is included still).
Through the app’s home page, users can easily go to Visits, Family History or Growth Charts. Of note, without inputting specific children, users cannot call up data on specific visits or see a blank growth chart – both require creating a child’s profile first.
The app also includes a Contacts tab where users can input their child’s doctor, dentist, pharmacy, child care, or school. Unfortunately, contacts cannot be input from other contact apps. Also, there is no ability to create a summary sheet of contacts or health history that would be useful to share with caregivers such as nannies or babysitters.
Overall the app is easy to use with a simple and clean interface that is well suited for mobile. My biggest frustration with the app would be redundancy — there is no integration with EHRs or ability to input data more simply (for example, scanning prescription labels to upload the data into the app). To get the full functionality of the app, like seeing well-child visit recommendations or a blank growth chart, all a child’s health prior health data would have to be input. Interestingly, users currently cannot even do that, as data from prior visits cannot be inputted into the app, which limits its usability for older children. For example, if you have a 4 year old due for their well-child check and you purchase the app, you can get great information on their upcoming visit and healthcare information moving forward, but you cannot input their prior vaccines, weights, prescriptions, etc. Additionally, users concerned about privacy may be leary of inputting all this data without a separate app password or TouchID requirement to login.
Review of the “Child Health Tracker,” Version 2.0 for “iOS (Universal app)”
From the AAP’s Healthy Children and Bright Futures intiatives
- Able to pack a lot of child health information into the app
- Easy-to-use, well-designed format
- Useful medication reminder tool
- Difficult to input older information
- Lack of a summary page
- No EHR integration
- No ability to add password protection
The “Child Health Tracker” is a useful app for tracking a child’s health information especially for new parents, helping to demystify pediatric visits. Unlocking its full functionality will require integrating it with a child’s EHR, would would make the “Child Health Tracker” a far more powerful tool than most currently active patient portals.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Simple, clean interface is very well suited for mobile (both iPhone and iPad).
- Multimedia Usage
Multimedia is fairly limited — there are embedded videos in the “Articles” section but no way to search for media.
A lot of information is available in the app for only $2.99, although the cost is underwritten by McNeil Consumer Healthcare as part of an educational grant. This may mean the app’s cost will increase (and having an industry sponsored app may make some providers uncomfortable.
- Real World Applicability
The inability to add data from prior visits or to pull data from EHR limits its utility especially for older children.
- Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad