My Health Pal, by Mike Barlow

Before searching on Google I wasn’t aware who he was, I hadn’t heard about the CPT or Parkinson’s Movement and therefore I didn’t appreciate the work they did. But then again until several months earlier I hadn’t been told I had Parkinson’s.  Shortly after I met with the fabulous team at the Cure Parkinson Trust, Tom spoke with so much passion and determination but most of all belief. Helen and Joy accompanied him, which almost makes it sound as though they were a couple of minders but both of who were equally determined. And finally Jon Stamford who had worked for 20+ years in this field and was a guy worth listening to and I’m incredibly grateful to them all for taking the time to actually listen to my ideas about myHealthPal and what we could develop to hopefully help better manage living with Parkinson’s.

It was 10 years to the day that Tom had completed his walk around Britain’s coastline. I left this, our first meeting on a high, excited and full of self-belief I was and continue to be inspired by that day and the people I met. I made a personal commitment that day to take this idea of mine and try doing something that will make a difference to peoples lives and to try doing it at no cost to the people who would use it.  This was no small challenge it hadn’t been done before, let alone attempted with so many tools and resources bundled into one package with the emphasis being about people with Parkinson’s, their families and trying to empower them.

I am continually reminded each day why I’m doing this and understanding that no two people are the same and that the medication that works for one doesn’t mean it will work for the other has helped me realize just how individual Parkinson’s is and how important it is too listen to what people with Parkinson’s have to say.

It’s taken me time to realize or perhaps accept that not only can my wellbeing, mood or outlook vary day to day but also at any point within that day and appreciating the change is difficult without being able to recognize the point at which it happens or what may have caused it. I believe this understanding process is crucial to determine if medication is effective, to help identify if it’s wearing off or to establish how our daily activities may have a positive or negative effect during the day.  

I, has become we, and we now employ a team of developers who together with a small handful of generous individuals who kindly volunteer their time and experience we are moving forward and are confident that we can help realize our objectives to visualize health and help us better understand and manage Parkinson’s.

myHealthPal is a healthcare initiative that was created to explore the use of everyday technologies to better manage long-term conditions and chronic illness. It has been created to allow people to manage their own condition or for someone else to manage it for them and makes use of touch screen devices such as the iPhone to perform condition related tests, to capture results and log other information.  However we also recognise potential technology gaps that may exist and are continually exploring ways to overcome these gaps, one example of this is using myHealthPal with a compatible watch.

Whilst myHealthPal includes many periphery functions such as conditional based information, live chat, surveys, managing medication and sharing information in a care circle. It’s ultimately about visualizing health in an easy to understand way to highlight if medication is effective;
• When is it wearing off?
• How does exercise impact it?
• What difference does sleep make?
• And soon will also include diet to help understand how different foods interact with medication.

At the heart of myHealthPal is its timeline and the ability to automatically capture and log results & information from touch screen devices and 3rdparty add-ons without someone having to manually key it in. This not only enables you to check medication effectiveness but also compare points in time to visualize change.

This really is about empowering people and driving change.

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