(M)apping Health for Children

The Boston Children’s Hospital recently announced a new app called Caremap. This app, which was created using Apple CareKit, streamlines and organizes details for families with children with complex medical needs. According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, half a million children in the U.S. need frequent hospital visits, doctor visits, and/or medications and procedures. Families are understandably concerned about the security of their children’s health information, but also face the challenges of intensive care regimens that can be exhausting.


The app was created with children with complex needs in mind, but can be used for any child. Caremap can keep track of many parameters including sleep, exercise, pain, or custom metrics, and can produce graphs based on trends in this data. Identification of trends is very important for care and health maintenance in general. Developers are looking to add more parameters, including school attendance and temper tantrums, according to this report. Caremap also allows family members to communicate with healthcare providers.


This is the sort of innovation that is long overdue in the age of mobile technology that we live in. Of course, security is of utmost concern, and should be a top priority for app users and developers alike. Caremap and similar apps could help families keep track of all the details of their children’s health amid overwhelming amounts of information and stress. Comprehensive apps such as Caremap can also encourage the development of healthy habits - keeping track of how much sleep a child gets, or how she is doing at school - can help parents maximize the information they have in order to make good decisions for their children.


iPhones come with a Health app in which users can log information about sleep, weight, exercise, and nutrition (Apple received a patent application approval this week for an “electronic device that computes health data”). Perhaps the successful launch of something like Caremap could remind parents of the advantages of using this sort of tool to keep track of their children’s health over time.