Product Review: Gut Health Storylines App + Freebie*

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* This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. *

Last year, I had the opportunity to work with the Self Care Catalysts to share my story with the world. I wrote a piece on the importance of self care and tracking your accomplishments and it was a big hit with you guys!

I was so happy with that piece, Daily Little Accomplishments + The Self-Care Movement, that I ended up writing a follow up piece, My Favorite Self-Care Activities. Well, shortly after that, I learned that the Self Care Catalysts were looking to team up with bloggers to share another awesome tool for chronic illness warriors! So, I figured I'd better let you all in on the secret that is Health Storylines!



Self Care Catalysts
Self Care Catalysts is a patient solutions, intelligence, and analytics company dedicated to healthcare innovation. According to their website, they are "committed to advocating for patients and consumers when it comes to healthcare decisions."

In order to better help patients make the best decisions, they believe the key is to make sure that patients feel informed, respected, and engaged. Through these key elements, patients should have a better understanding, make better decisions, and ultimately, have better health outcomes.

To keep up with their mission, Self Care Catalysts have built multiple innovative technologies to help patients manage their care outside of a clinical setting. In fact, the Self Care Catalysts' Health Storylines platform doesn't only compliment patients current treatment plans, but it can also help aid them with their treatment as well!


Health Storylines
According to their website, "Health Storylines™ was created by a passionate team of self-care advocates who believe that the key to healthcare innovation is to hear the voice of the patient." To promote the idea of patients sharing their stories, the Healthy Storylines team created a platform of user friendly apps. Through these apps, patients can individually track and chronicle their everyday lives living with their chronic illness(es)!

At this point in time, the Healthy Storylines platform includes over 15 different FREE apps! Each app can be used for multiple purposes, but the main four include: record, remind, discuss, and share. The apps keep track of your thoughts, your symptoms, your medications, and more! Not only that, but you can also include your support community on your app and share updates with them.

The current Health Storylines apps include: Health Storylines™, EpilepsyHealth Storylines, Sarcoma Storylines, Carcinoid Nets, CMT Neighbours, ADDA Health Storylines, Help4Hep, My MedicAlert® App, Cardiac Health Storylines, Asthma Health Storylines, SARDAA Health Storylines, AS Health Storylines, Acromegaly Health Storylines, Liver Health Storylines, IBD Health Storylines, HIV Health Storylines, Kidney Cancer Health Storylines, Heart Failure Health Storylines. For more information, you can check them out here!


Gut Health Storylines App
Like many of the other Health Storylines apps, this one was created with a particular focus in mind: gut health. As a result, the Self Care Catalysts created an app full of tools to manage Chron's, Ulcerative Colitis, and other types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, all in one place! According to their website, it's an easy app used to "record your symptoms, food reactions, bowel patterns, moods, and more!"

Fun Fact: The app was originally named IBD Health Storylines, but was has since been renamed the Gut Health Storylines!

For more information on the Gut Health Storylines App, you can check it out here!

Review
First off, I have to point out how amazing the Self Care Catalysts branding is! I mean, if you just scroll up to see their two logos and the app icon, it's blatantly clear that they're all connected. And they do this in the best way possible!

While we're on the topic of design, I'd also like to note that I love the way that their app is laid out! It's incredibly easy to use and it can be personalized for each individual user! Honestly, I think that's one of my favorite aspects!

For instance, when you first login to the app, you'll be able to check out your home screen. There, you will find several helpful features: Medication Tracker, Daily Moods, Symptom Tracker, Daily Vitals, Appointment Calendar, My Journal, Healthy Doses, Food Diary, Stool Diary, and Treatment Reflections. In addition to those, you can also add other tools based on your diagnoses or needs.

Once I got the hang of the app, I decided to personalize my home page. In doing so, I now use: Medication Tracker, Daily Moods, Symptom Tracker, Daily Vitals, My Journal, Healthy Doses, Food Diary, Stool Diary, Routine Builder, and Questions to Ask.


And of course, there are other app features as well. As you'll notice in the screenshot above, you can see that the app has four buttons on the bottom. These include Menu, My Storylines, Home, and Polls. My Storylines is a personal feed of all of the information that you've uploaded for the week through the app's tools. The Polls section is a series of polls used to learn about others, help with research, and enter for the chance to win weekly prize draws! Then there's the menu button, which will provide you with an additional screen full of helpful features, as seen below.


Oh! And did I mention how easy it was to sign up? After downloading the app, all I had to do was enter my first name, my email address, my password, my birth year, and my gender. That was it! And of course, you can also customize your profile with your image, your health goals, your conditions, and you can even import your Electronic Health Record!

At first, I was a little hesitant to start using the app. Honestly, I thought that it was going to be embarrassing, but Health Storylines pulled out all the stops! Each feature has the option to change the visibility setting so I have complete control over who gets to see what I track. This was especially important for me! You and I both know that there's just some things that you don't want everyone to see!

Some of the other features that I really enjoyed were the "My Journal" section and the "Healthy Doses" section. I've always liked tracking my progress, but it's been difficult to keep up with. So I find it incredibly helpful that I can easily access this tool with guided prompts! And I absolutely LOVE the "Healthy Doses" section! At first glance, I figured it just had to do with vitamins or something health related, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, this section is dedicated to providing instant motivation and encouragement. The app calls it a "dose of healthy wisdom for your mind and spirt," which they provide with awesome quotes and images!


Truthfully, there aren't many aspects of this app that I disliked. I did have one issue with the app early on, but customer service was quick to respond to my email and very helpful. I had logged on one day and all of my tools were missing, but after contacting them, they reappeared and the app has been working perfectly ever since!

Other than that, there's only one other thing that I would change. I noticed that the food and stool diary both track based on the time that the entry was submitted. However, I would really like to be able to go back and edit the times. Sometimes it can be hard to remember to track everything the moment that it's happening, especially if you are in the company of others. But, it's not a deal breaker!

Overall, I would highly recommend this app! No matter what you're struggling with, I think tracking your progress is a HUGE help! And Health Storylines has an amazing collection of apps that are sure to work for you! So I would highly suggest that you check them out and download a FREE app today! Plus, all of the Health Storyline apps are available for download in both the Apple and Android app stores :)

* This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. *


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