Summer 2021 (Volume 31, Number 2)
Arthritis + Patient: An App
By Manisha Mulgund, MD, FRCPC
My name is Manisha Mulgund. I am a rheumatologist
in Hamilton, Ontario, with a keen interest in early inflammatory
arthritis. Amid the chaos of 2020, the app that I’ve
worked on for a few years was released!
I am excited to share with you “Arthritis + Patient,” an
app for self-monitoring and education specifically tailored
to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing
spondylitis (AS/SpA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
The diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis can be overwhelming
and stressful for most patients. At the onset, our patients
have to deal not only with the pain and the change in
their quality of life (QoL), but also with complex medications
and access to care. Once I recognized this pattern, I was motivated
to find innovative ways to improve their experience.
Through patient surveys, I was able to understand the
challenges they faced. With the inspiration and support of
my patients, who gave me their valuable time and thoughts,
the concept of the app was created. My goal was to provide a
platform to further educate and support patients. This app
is a start towards meeting that goal.
After years of work and multiple iterations, the free app
for patients with inflammatory arthritis, “Arthritis + Patient,”
was released on both iOS and Android platforms.
Its key features are as follows:
- Symptom Journal: This journal serves
as an up-to-date diary-like tool, with a
camera, notes, and a dictation feature.
- Health Assessment: Depending
on the disease, specific forms are
available in this section. It includes a
Functional Assessment (HAQ, BASDAI,
or BASFI auto-calculated results
with graphs); General Assessment,
aka interim history, and a clickable
Homunculus for marking tender joints.
- Educational resources: Patients
can access audio files, written
explanations of conditions, lifestyle
recommendations, and additional
websites for further information.
- Record: Patients can easily look
back at their previous data such as
assessment scores. This allows for
increased convenience, as patients
will simply have an all-in-one health
wallet alternative to their charts and
papers for their appointments.
Once downloaded, the app
can be used anywhere at any
time. Wi-fi connection is not
required to complete the forms
as the data is static and locally
Here’s how to use the app:
- Download the free app.
- Enter any number as your Demographic Number
(could be a chart # or patient ID in the future).
- Enter an e-mail address. Patients will have the option
to share their records, at their own discretion.
- Complete the rest of the profile by selecting
one of the inflammatory arthritides.
- At this point, the setup process is complete
and patients are free to use any of the features.
Once the profile is completed the health
assessment feature becomes available to use.
- Please fill out the survey form.
Using the information from the app at your patient's appointment
is easy. Patients fill the health assessment section
on the app prior to their scheduled appointments. During
their visit, you ask them their scores and to highlight any
specific notes they want to discuss within the app, allowing
you to be focused and efficient. It saves time as the data is
I hope that this app serves as an asset to both you and
your patients in enhancing shared decision making. My mission
statement is: Respect, Educate, Empower
I am excited to be collaborating with my
peers to bring a new section to the app called
“Vaccines and Tests.” Here, patients will be
able to learn more about vaccines and create
their own vaccine passport.
I am so grateful to everyone who has helped
me during my journey towards creation of
the app. I have interacted with some amazing
people along the way.
I encourage you to download the app, explore
it and share it with your patients. Together,
we can do better and create an even
greater impact on patient care. Connect with
me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any
questions or comments.
Manisha Mulgund, MD, FRCPC
Rheumatologist, Hamilton, Ontario