Developer: Applications for Life
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4. Universal.
Trial: Feature-limited (five entries).
I’d never used a medical-information tracking program and wanted to see if it would simplify things for me, my roommate, or our doctors. iBloodTracker looked as if it could be useful.
Was it? It all depends on what you want to track—and who will see the results.
I failed to read the promotional material thoroughly and assumed it would help me track my blood sugar readings for my doctor. It turns out, iBloodTracker is intended (and advertised) to track blood pressure readings, heart rate, and weight. I don’t need to track those, with a healthy blood pressure and a too-high but obvious weight. But I do need to check my blood sugar now and then and record it for my doctor.
I’d been recording it in a simple TextEdit file with one field for the date and another tabbed-over field for the sugar reading. Easy.
So what’s the point of using software like iBloodTracker? It creates charts! My theory is that doctors like charts—some doctors, anyway—because they are visual learners. Graphical charts are even more accessible to some visual learners than text.
I haven’t been able to check with the doctors involved in this review to see what they think, but I’ll post something in the comments section after I do. I’m also interested in responses from doctors who read the review to see if they like these charts, or if a list of numbers is just as good.
So here’s how I tricked the software into working out for us (I used my roommate’s numbers, as the license is for one user only, and my roomie checks his sugar more often than I do). The ideal top number in your blood pressure reading is 120, or at least that’s the average: 120 over 80. It so happens that the top end of the fasting blood sugar range is also 120; that is to say, when you get up in the morning and check your sugar level first thing, you want it to be no higher than 120 (some doctors set a lower number, but that’s where my roomie and I both are). So I entered his sugar numbers into iBloodTracker as the systolic reading and left the diastolic at 80.
The top number is really a blood sugar reading.
As you can see, his blood sugar is mostly below the indicated 120 but above the recommended 80. His doctor should be pleased enough with this chart I mailed him.
For those who are just as happy with a list, the numbers can look this way:
Sometimes a list is just fine, too.
But this list is no better than the one we’d been keeping in TextEdit.
These are my numbers instead of my roomie’s: a little higher and not as consistent.
So for $25, you ought to have a doctor who will appreciate the “chartiness” factor. If your doctor doesn’t care for that, there’s not much point in the extra clicks and tabbing to a new field that you do in iBloodTracker as opposed to using a text document.
Even if you are tracking blood pressure numbers, as the software is designed to do, I’d still base the purchasing decision on the people who are going to use it most: the doctors involved. If it’s up to you and me, we’ll probably stick with the easier system—any word-processing program we like.
Will my roomie and I keep using it? Probably. It’s up to my roomie, really—and his doctor. I’m not sure I think it’s worth a few extra clicks to type in a couple of digits every day, especially when I can do them quicker the old way. But we’ll see what he thinks.
Recommendations for future versions: add a blood sugar field and a whole new batch of people might be interested in this application. Unless they’ve also all figured out how to cheat, too, and put that reading in the systolic field.