Digital Medicine & Wearable Technology

Author: Rachel Vincent

Coauthor(s): Dr. Sherieff Taraman

Status: Project Concept

Increasing Patient Autonomy Through a Mobile Medical Dietary Application

While there are a variety of dietary and weight loss applications on the market, there are few apps that are specifically targeted towards patients with disorders that require personalized monitoring of daily food intake. Disorders including Phenylketonuria (PKU), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, seizure disorder, and diabetes may require strict monitoring of diet. In the case of PKU, phenylalanine cannot be converted to tyrosine, which causes excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood.
In order to gain autonomy over the treatment process for their disorder, it is essential for adolescents and adults to have a simple way to track their necessary dietary needs. A proposed solution is a mobile medicine application where patients can input specific foods that they eat, and have the app track the amount of the monitored substance they take in each day. Patients can also take pictures of their meal before and after they eat and the app can provide information on the nutritional content based off of the amount of meal eaten. The app will then provide reminders throughout the day, telling patients to eat more or less of a specific type of food. Patients can also record how they feel after meals for a better idea of how the dietary suggestions are working. Using AI, the app will track meals over the course of a week, month and several months and let the patient know if there are changes in specific foods they should or should not eat, based off of how they feel before and after meals and their nutritional intake as compared with guidelines from their physician. The app can also sync with calendars to make suggestions for times to eat throughout the day and certain choices that will best help with their busy schedule. Dietary information can be saved and sent to physicians to help monitor how the patient is feeling after meals, allowing direct communication with doctors without needing an appointment. The care provider will be notified if there are abnormalities or concerning aspects in the patient’s records, and can recommend that the patient come in for an appointment. For example, the app can notify the physician if a patient has been consistently, (for example of the span of a month) not feeling well after meals. Due to the HIPPA Security Rule, the app would be responsible for the confidentiality of the patient’s information, and would follow the four main rules under the HIPPA compliance checklist.
This will ultimately allow patients to avoid peaks or drops in dietary requirements, helping them evade negative side effects that are associated with improper nutrition balances. The downside of this application however is that it relies on manual input of the patient’s diet. While it could be easy for some patients to forget to input their nutritional intake, the app can be set to provide reminders throughout the day so patients will be prompted to record their meals.


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