Science

Carecircle: The Tech to Improve Health

In this interview, Jorinde Gessner, a Scot from Edinburgh, living and working in Germany, and one of those involved in Carecircle’s development, speaks about the App and her hopes for what it can deliver.

What is Carecircle?

Carecircle is an advertising-free online health community, with a world-class diagnosis tool (from UK-based Isabel) and health journaling function. It can be downloaded from the app store, or you can sign-up at carecircle.org

Why was it set up?

A pandemic health issue was the catalyst for a diverse team of friends with tech backgrounds to develop a health app in their spare time.  All of them motivated to improve health outcomes for people with non-regular cases, or chronic conditions, where patient experience can be so vital in providing 24/7 help and support when local health systems cannot.

The app was officially launched at Wired Health and London Tech Week in May.

How does it work?

Users sign up, create an anonymized profile, and then start their personalized online health journey. There is a diagnosis tool if they want to get a second opinion on symptoms, or a private health journal to keep track of medical appointments, medication, or diet. And they can connect with other users in online chat rooms dedicated to a variety of health topics to share their lived-experience with others.

How has it been going so far ?

In the first phase of development, the team focused on making the best tech product for user experience and data privacy. The app itself is now available to try out and initial feedback has been very positive. However, for the community aspect to really take off, the number of daily users must increase, to ensure that help and advice is available for those who join. Uptake from existing health groups and patient advocates has been slow so far. This may be because the app is not that widely known but also that it is hard to get people to move from existing social networks such as Facebook, where private health groups are already well established.

What are your hopes for the future of Carecircle ?

I’d like the app to become the go-to place for people’s health. Whether this is to double-check symptoms, keep a medication journal, or join a room dedicated to a health topic of interest. As we move from one phase of life to the next this can change over time and the app will reflect this, and keep personal health data safe and available at any time.

Any other info or insights you may like to share ?

Latest research has shown that patients living with chronic diseases, or coming out of hospital, benefit from a health peer group in terms of motivation and commitment to adhere to treatment plans outside a formal care setting. This means that a social health network like carecircle could make a real difference to many people’s recovery, if they get support from a group, and it could also lower the cost of treatment overall.

Click on this link for more information: CareCircle – The first global health community made by you

Image credit Kenny Armet