Arthritis Tracker: our journey developing an app for teens and young adults

03 May 2020
A group working on the young people's app.
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We’ve been developing the Arthritis Tracker app for teens and young adults living with arthritis in the UK. It’s been an exciting journey, and we thought it was a story worth sharing.

How can this app help?

The Arthritis Tracker will allow you to quickly rate your symptoms and wellbeing. It provides   a summary over time of your pain, sore joints, medication side effects, energy levels, activity, sleep and emotions.

These can help you learn more about your condition and review how you’re doing. Also, the information on the app can help you and your healthcare professionals review together how things are going.

The beginning of the journey

The idea for the app was born after the Young People & Family Service in Northern Ireland took part in the Techies in Residence programme.

This programme was the catalyst which started the whole process and took us and the young people we work with on an exciting journey.

Even though we didn’t know what the outcome would be, we could see the potential of using digital tech to address the challenges our young people were facing. We decided if we could develop something good, it was worth throwing ourselves into the deep end to find out!

Finding the winning idea

To make sure the end result would be truly helpful to people, we kept young people at the heart of the design and development. We invited teens and young adults living with arthritis to get involved and share their ideas, very soon a strong one emerged. This was the start of our app journey.

The winning idea was a health tracking app which allowed young people to track their arthritis symptoms and wellbeing, provide hints on what they should say at their next appointment and ideas for how to make day-to-day life easier.

We also wanted the tech to help young people to connect with others age, who understood what it was like to be a teenager or young adult living with arthritis.

After a few months and a lot of hard work we had a prototype in our hands.

To get to this point we’d spent hours collaborating, talking and running focus groups. One of our young people even helped us develop and deliver a Dragon’s Den-style pitch.

Also, we successfully secured funding from the Social Innovation Seed Fund (Community Foundation NI), and got advice and input from our local paediatric rheumatology team.

All of this allowed us to grow this fantastic idea from a prototype to a live, publicly available app for young people across the UK.

A young people’s app shaped by young people

Young people will always be at the heart of the app’s journey. We’ve been lucky to have an amazing community of young people who’ve given us honest feedback, helped with testing and told us what matters most to them.

Also, we’ve consulted with parents and health professionals from across UK. This has helped us build the app in a way that focuses on areas of day-to-day life that could be affected by arthritis symptoms like sleep, activity levels and emotions.

Thank you

The app is now publicly available for download on both iPhone and Android.

THANK YOU to all those who’ve helped us get to this point.

Help us spread the word

We want to get this app into the hands of as many young people as possible. Help us spread the word by sharing the app on social media, or by telling your health professional about the app (they can find use our specific information for healthcare professionals.

Get involved

Be part of our journey and help us to keep developing our app for young people with arthritis. Get more information about the app including links to download the app from the Apple Store (for iPhone users) and Google Play Store (for Android Users).

Whether you are a young person, a parent, or a health professional working with young people with arthritis, we want to hear your feedback. Try it out and let us know what you think by clicking on the feedback button in the app or emailing apps@versusarthritis.org.

Be part of the change and help us use tech for good.