If you've been feeling a little unwell lately, or if you have a chronic condition that requires monitoring, you may want to track your symptoms and what triggers them on a daily basis. This is particularly useful knowing that waiting for regular checkups and follow-ups with your physician could take weeks, and sometimes even months, and recalling the symptoms on particular day may be hard.
Tracking symptoms daily gives better insight into patient's condition and disease progression, which could help physicians providing a better care. Traditional way to do it is using pen and paper, but it's not a convenient solution, because it requires a manual input, which patient may forget or not be in the mood to do every day. Also, patients can't name and list all the symptoms in detail that medical provider may find significant for the condition progression and outcome.
Several web-based and mobile app solutions simplify things, but not enough. Most of them are hard to use, too complicated or without customization or personalization properties.
One mobile app, however, stands out. Named Symple, it's exactly that – a simple symptom tracker and health diary app that allows patients to record their medical symptoms daily, to make it easier for healthcare providers to understand their disease and help with clinical decisions involving treatment.
For the purpose of this review, we've used the free version of Symple app, which is somewhat limited, particularly regarding adding notes into your Journal, which can be unlocked by in-app purchases. Still, the main functionality of Symple app - tracking symptoms - is available to users, even if they use free version.
Upon starting the app, users will be prompted to choose up to 10 factors and up to 10 symptoms they'd like to track. Both offer a drop down list with numerous options users can choose from, to set up the best possible personal diary for themselves.
Factors include several subcategories, such as Daily Life, which allows users to choose their lifestyle preferences (bedtime, weather, how was your work day, did you have coffee with friends, have you been home alone, etc.), diet modifications, exercise, the medications or supplements they use.
Setting up symptoms is done in similar way, i.e. users can choose up to 10 symptoms they'd like to track from a list of subcategories, which are sorted based on body parts affected by the symptoms.
Once you've finished the setup, you'll be taken back to the main screen with all symptoms listed. By swiping right or left you can change days (today, yesterday, etc.) and modify the entries for that particular day. Instead of swiping, you can use the calendar icon (top right) to choose the particular day.
Tapping on symptom opens a new screen with graphs you can use to track the symptoms, its occurrence and severity, as well as to get more information about the symptom. You can also add factors for each day, and tick them on or off. Users can also add up to two photos per day, which could be useful for certain symptoms such as rash or swelling, or any other physiological manifestations.
To record symptoms simply tap on plus sign beside the symptom name, which will open Record Symptom screen where you can add severity from None to Severe for different parts of the day, i.e. "nite", "am", "mid" and "pm".
Users can add notes into Journal, which is more convenient way to gather all symptoms, add more details and track them with ease, but this is available only in paid version of the app. However, even without Journal, Symple app works pretty well. But, if you want to upgrade, simply tap on Settings and choose Symple Complete.
Adding new symptoms and factors after the initial setup may seem difficult, because there's no simple option to add them from their own screens. To add new symptoms and factors (and remove existing) you need to again tap on Settings, which allows you to access these two options and to deactivate or completely remove existing symptoms and factors, and to add new.
Here, you can also set up reminder alerts or connect with Apple Health. There are also few support options, such as sharing your report with your doctor (we can't tell how accurate or useful is this), send feedback to app creators or check FAQ section.
Two great options you'll also find here are ability to back up or restore your data, and to export your data in .csv format, to view it in spreadsheet format outside the app.
The interface of the Symple app is modern, simple, fast and straightforward. Even in its free version, Symple app provides advanced functionality regarding recording and tracking symptoms, sharing the data with medical provider and data backup/restore/export options.
Adding more than one alert per day would be useful improvement in future updates. Also, the app is missing reference links in symptoms info part, but that's not too important, because Symple is more patient-oriented app, made to be daily health diary, not the professional medical app.
Benefit: Patients who want to keep track of their medical symptoms and share it with their medical provider.