Three years ago, I found out I had a brain tumor. I underwent surgery, but unfortunately the tumor started to grow again in May this year. I relocated from Barcelona, where I was living and working, back to the Netherlands. Here, I had to undergo a very complicated treatment, with many different pills and lots of tests and appointments in different hospitals. I really couldn't believe that there was no app for this which automatically synchs the hospital information to my own iPhone.
My whole working life I have been making apps for the financial world to make banking easier. I now wanted to use this knowledge to help my fellow patients. I decided to create MindApp. The app communicates directly with the hospital and is an automatic reminder for patients undergoing a lengthy and complicated treatment schedule.
MindApp isn’t just for patients, it’s also for the friends and family around them. They need to know when my next appointment is and which pills I have to swallow, basically how and when they can help me. It also gives them information they should know about me. For example, I am not allowed to drink wine or eat bananas or peanuts, because they are not compatible with certain medications I have to take.
My hope is that MindApp will become a very functional tool to make the difficult treatment more comfortable for my fellow patients. On the other hand, I hope this kind of application will become an important part of treatments all over the world.
The doctors, nurses and hospital staff are my heroes; they gave me more than 3 extra years to enjoy life, so I am very thankful to them. But communication around healthcare, via print-outs and phone calls, is quite old-fashioned; they do a great job by minimizing the pain and making life as comfortable as possible, but they do need to start to think from the patient's perspective.
The machines they use for MRIs etc. are amazing. But annoying too. It is impressive when you see the images of your head; however, when I moved from Barcelona, I had to bring the CD-roms with MRI scans and a sample of my brain tumor with me. Even in The Netherlands, different hospitals were not able to read each others’ scans. I found it quite old-fashioned that there's no international database where patients and hospitals can find personal information, scans, or test results. Many hospitals have invested in patient portals, but those are not really user-friendly. Nowadays, everybody carries a smartphone which could be used easily to 'manage' your illness.
I now just have weeks left, but we need a couple of months to develop the app. That's why I have founded a foundation (Into the Clear), which can finish the project after I am dead. There's a team of designers and developers working on the preparations for the app, so we can start building it as soon as the money is raised.
In terms of funding, we have already raised $22,446 and our target is $53,000. I have watched the funding grow day by day. Many people, but also many companies, have supported the app. The extra money we raise will be used for improving the app and changing it to make it appropriate for other diseases too.
I wish I had more time to use my experience to improve the information technology, but hopefully other people will take over this job.
If you want to help me, please go to the crowdfunding platform for healthcare projects MedStartr. Here you will find the MindApp project. People can donate any amount, from 5 euros to 50,000 euros. People also can transfer money via NL90TRIO0390933929 to the special bank account of F.A. van den Broek. We will transfer the money to MedStartr.
Unfortunately, Frederik passed away in August 2015, shortly after this post was published. Mindapp exceeded its $53,000 target and Frederik’s partners continue to work on the project in his memory and according to his vision.