Startups

Chronic illness tracker Journal My Health is adding a menstrual cycle feature

The new function was highly requested by users, founder Tracey Welson-Rossman said. The 2021-launched startup is also raising a friends and family round.

Tracey Welson-Rossman using the Journal My Health app.

(Courtesy photo)

Journal My Health, the 2021-founded healthcare app that allows those with chronic conditions to track their symptoms and more easily share with healthcare providers, is expanding its features with a menstrual cycle tracker.

It was by far the most highly requested feature from a collection of surveyed users, Fort Washington-based founder Tracey Welson-Rossman told Technical.ly by phone from the South by Southwest conference in Austin this week.

The app was born in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought long-haul symptoms to as many as a quarter of those who got sick. But it was also inspired by Welson-Rossman’s own set of chronic health issues before the pandemic began.

“When I started this journey, it wasn’t about women,” said Welson-Rossman, who is also CMO of Greater Philadelphia’s Chariot Solutions and the founder of national-facing nonprofit TechGirlz. “We do want the app to service all genders. But when you start really understanding the makeup of those who suffer chronic illness, especially auto-immune issues, women are highly impacted. Almost 80% of people who have autoimmune issues are women.”

The period-tracking function adds to the app’s existing ability to monitor and document multiple symptoms, medications, environmental triggers, and physical activity that impacts how an individual and their health professionals will go about managing their health.

There’s so little research currently about how someone’s period impacts their chronic condition, Welson-Rossman said. The new feature will allow users to better judge if other health issues worsen during their menstrual cycle; for instance, tracked information can tell users if sleep patterns or hormonal changes are contributing to increased fatigue.

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Many of the period-tracking apps on the market now are focused on fertility or sexual health rather than overall health, though cardiac conditions, lupus, POTS and rheumatoid arthritis, among other chronic conditions, are likely impacted throughout the month. Users who expressed interest were using another app or means of tracking their period and were interested in being able to integrate it all in one place to compare symptoms, the founder said.

“There’s no research tying these things together,” she said. “Hopefully by bringing this new feature in, it helps put more information at the fingertips of the patients, and at the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking to do — bringing as much info together in one spot.”

The team is now looking into options to “white label” the technology so medical systems could use it, or it could be integrated into existing systems for patient care. Journal My Health is also in the midst of raising a friends and family round of financing — essentially “building this plane while we’re flying it,” Welson-Rossman said.

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