Scheduled healthcare appointments are getting shorter - often limited to ten minutes or so. As we age, our need for medical care often becomes more frequent and more complex. I saw an opportunity to use ambient technology we all have now in the home, the car or on our mobile devices to capture - almost casually - any personal observations of our own changing health. Armed with this historical context, a patient + doctor team might make more efficient use of available time, and contribute to diagnosis and treatment.

What it does

The skill lets customers record their own observations about their health. The input is free-form - just short descriptions. Notes are retained for 30 days then automatically deleted (a 30-day window should be sufficient symptom history for most situations). By logging health notes habitually, no matter how minor, the patient is building up a comprehensive picture of their changing health. Some observations will be irrelevant, others can give clues to a developing condition. When the patient visits the doctor (for instance) they can take a detailed report to ensure accuracy in reporting symptoms.

How we built it

This is a self-hosted skill built with Javascript, NodeJS, AWS Lambda and Amazon DynamoDB.

Challenges we ran into

I wanted to ensure that customers could have a permanent record of their notes, in an editable and shareable format. I chose email as the solution because it's universal and easy to edit and share using existing tools on everyone'e device. It also accommodates long messages (a 30-day trailing log for an enthusiastic patient might have hundreds of saved notes).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

I like that the skill is generic enough to be used for any kind of health-related journal, including physical, mental health, diet, medication effects.

What we learned

Learned a bunch of APL features I hadn’t used before.

What's next for My Health Notes

Improved reporting, lots more testing, get feedback from health professionals.

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