I haven’t been a fan of symptom tracking apps. Some limit my options by not allowing me to customize triggers, treatments, etc. Still others require so much customization that I’d be better off writing my own app. In order to be successful, a tracking app must have these qualities:
- a clean, uncluttered user interface
- start and stop times
- severity level of pain
- other symptom features
- possible triggers
- treatments used
- overview screen
- option to download data into a useable format
Trying out a new app
I’ve been testing out a new tracking app called Migraine Buddy I don’t remember how I found it or I would give credit to the referral. I just remember seeing the app on my phone and starting to use it. I was frustrated with another migraine-related app (not a tracking app) and looking for something that was user-friendly.
It’s a sleep tracker, too.
One of the things that caught my attention right away was that Migraine Buddy also tracks sleep patterns. In fact, when it comes to producing a useable summary, the Sleep Diary offers a better graphical overview than its migraine tracking tools.
It’s my personal cheerleader.
The second thing I noticed were the encouraging messages displayed on the home screen each time I used the app. In a large circle, it reports how many hours or days it has been since the user’s last migraine attack and gives you the option to share your good news with others via Facebook. Right now, my screen says, “You have been migraine-free for 20 days.”
Users have four options:
Record a migraine
It is very simple to use. Just follow the prompts. The app guides the user through every step.
The on-screen summary is excellent. I would like to see an exported report that more closely resembled the on-screen report. I would also like to see users provided with more than one option on the type of summary document they wish to receive. Some might prefer a simple Excel spreadsheet or CSV text document while others might like to see a more visually-oriented report.
When you first start using Migraine Buddy, the app prompts you to enter your typical sleep and wake times. It then monitors the movement of your phone during those times to estimate your sleep time and duration. Each morning, it prompts the user to verify the estimated sleep time.
There is one feature I’d love to have added to the Sleep Diary. It only tracks total hours slept. To truly be an effective measure of sleep quality, the app needs to reflect disrupted sleep. To look at my results, you would think that my 7.8 hours per night average was pretty good. However, the summary does not show that I woke 3 times during the night and that part of that total occurred during daytime hours.
The calendar is nice when I need a quick overview. I can always open each individual occurence if I want more details.
One of the best
Overall, I believe this might be one of the best tracking apps available for migraine. The down side is that other than sleep quantity, it does not track any other comorbid conditions such as other headache disorders, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc.
In my own little perfect world, there will someday be an app that offers patients the option to choose multiple conditions whose symptoms they would like to track. In my situation, I would choose migraine, cluster headache, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, weight tracking, and exercise tracking. This dream app would allow me to input data from a smart phone, tablet, PC, or from an online service.
In the meantime, Migraine Buddy is one of the best free migraine tracking apps available. If I were to choose just one feature I’d like to see improved, it would be the format of the data download. I’d really like to see the download be the same as the reports viewed on my phone.