Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, in which the communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted.
It is estimated that more than 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 million people worldwide have multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease and a condition with uncertain prognosis and outcomes. The majority of patients are mildly affected, but in the worst cases, multiple sclerosis can lead to severe disability, rendering a person unable to write, speak, or walk.
Living with multiple sclerosis presents daily challenges. A key part of managing MS successfully is an ability to give your health care providers enough details about the symptoms you're experiencing and how they impact your daily life.
The easiest way to do this is by keeping the record of all MS related events in a diary or journal. Having a mobile app for this purpose may be an even more convenient daily resource to use.
MS self – Multiple Sclerosis app is designed for patients with multiple sclerosis allowing them to keep a thorough record of their daily symptoms, mood, energy level, personal thoughts, and more. It can be personalized by adding local weather data and synced with other apps, such as Fitbit to track activity and sleep.
The app is free to download and use, however, only on iOS devices.
Upon initial startup, the app would ask users to log in via Facebook or create an account by providing their name, email, and password. Users can also opt-out by choosing to create the account later and proceed straight to the app.
After creating an account, the next step would be to complete the profile by providing additional information relevant to your condition, such as the type of MS you have, as well as some irrelevant information such as your degree or household income.
While the latter questions are optional, meaning that users can choose not to answer them, I found them unnecessary that serve no purpose other than to help the app developers gather some additional stats about MS patients.
After completing this part, users will be taken to the app, or more accurately, will be 'bombarded' with several pop-ups informing them what's new in the new version of the app, useful user features, their first earned achievement, and so on.
This is another unnecessary part that could overwhelm and frustrate the users. The information is certainly useful, but it should be delivered in a milder fashion, not thrown into user's face all at once.
MS self app provides several useful features, with the main being the Journal that allows users to keep track of their daily feelings/moods, symptoms, activity, energy levels, and thoughts, which can help users and their healthcare team review the information on patient's progress.
Users can select an emoticon or a set of emoticons that best describe how they're feeling on a particular day. They can also rate their mobility and energy levels on an easy-to-use scale, and record symptoms and activities they've participated in.
Finally, users can add comments in the notes section to provide more details, which may be useful when reviewing the log history with their provider.
Users can also add daily, weekly and monthly goals to their journal, which include various activities, such as working from home or outside the home, shopping, walking, exercise, and many more, which can be reviewed in the Goals section.
One of the highlights if the app is Fact Cards feature that provides useful information about MS, as well as helpful tips and tools to keep your body and mind in good health, in a form of flashcards or videos.
Here you can read about various subjects, including how to keep stress under control, exercise to reduce the stress, skin care, sleep, financial health and more.
All cards are narrated and well-referenced, providing links to resource materials.
The latest version of the MS self app also contains MSWS-12, or 12-Item Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale, which is a patient survey designed to allow users assess how the MS affects their walking through 12 questions.
For almost any activity in the app, users can earn badges which are rewarded to them for completing various actions. These achievement badges range from Newbie Journalist to MS self Champion.
Users can activate reminders and alerts in Settings section to help enhance their user experience. These reminders can be set to log journal entries daily or on particular days. Users can also receive alerts when new Fact Cards are available.
The MS self app allows syncing across multiple devices and apps, such as FitBit to track activities or sleeping patterns. Just enable syncing in Settings which would ensure auto updates.
Overall, MS self app is a useful journal for all MS patients. I'm not thrilled with its design or interface that could be better, but the functionality is what matters the most.
Benefit: Patients with multiple sclerosis could use this app to log their symptoms, moods, and other MS-related events with the goal to keep their condition under control
*Update (2018/01/25): The app became available for Android as of December 2017