July 19th 2023.
When you’re looking for help tracking your symptoms, medication, well-being, treatments, medical records, appointments, and a whirlwind of important things for people with health issues, it can be hard to know where to begin. There are a few different symptom-tracking apps, all of which offer slightly different ways to track your symptoms and treatments, view insights into changes in your health, and they all come with their own array of bonus features too. That’s why, as one of the top-ranking symptom trackers, and the only symptom-tracking company founded by someone with chronic health issues, we want to give an honest appraisal of how all of these apps work and how they can help you. Today, we’re reviewing the Careclinic app.
My first impression is that the app lacks some of the polish and finish of some of the other health apps I’ve used but once you look past this, you realise how many features, tools and resources there are in the Careclinic app! In fact, I soon realised that the team at Careclinic had thought of almost anything that might be helpful and found a way to get it into the app, one way or another. From the ‘speak to a doctor’ feature and the ‘scales and assessments’ page, this feels like they’ve thought about the end to end experience of having a health issue to managing your meds and appointments. I especailly appreciate the fact that I can customise my avatar and – maybe counterintutively – uploaded a picture of my dog.
Just like Bearable, Careclinic helps you to track the things that are most important when you’re living with health issues; Symptoms, Moods, Treatments, Medications, Nutrition, Hydration, and anything else that might be improving or worsening your health. These are the main features that stood out to me:
There are loads of great things about the Careclinic app and the most notable of them all is the sheer volume of features. From physical exercise guides, medical team info, medical report logs, assessment quizzes, treatment pathways, the list goes on and on. Another thing that might make a difference to you is that symptom tracking is done using a 1-to-10 scale – we’ve deliberately chosen not to use in the Bearable app to help with the accuracy of severity scores – but we understand that some people prefer to use this scale. If that’s you, then Careclinic might be the app for you! Reflecting on your well-being is a crucial part of the health-management journey – especially if you’re going to therapy or managing certain mental health issues – so I’m an especially big fan of their journaling tool and journaling prompts (though you can’t use these without subscribing).
For everything that Careclinic gets right, it’s let down by some simple things that have a big negative impact on your experience of the app. Firstly, so many of the features are premium that you end up being shown the paywall almost everytime you click on something. This makes it really hard to explore the app and understand all the features. Similar to this, some of the key features are restricted, for example, you can only track three, preset symptoms or conditions for free before you’re shown another paywall. Whilst certain features in Bearable are also paywalled (advanced reports, extra notes, and custom experiments) we made a point of offering a fremium version that lets you customise, track, and even view reports for as many symptoms or conditions as you’d like – totally for free. This might be a bit nit-picky, but something else that bugged me the whole time I used Careclinic was the fact that there’s a lot of carelessness in the design. Text often looks out of place, things are positioned strangely, many of the elements just look very basic. This extends to their being a lot of low contrast elements that might be hard for some users with accessibility needs, such as grey boxes with grey text. This doesn’t limit the use of the app for me but just makes for a slightly less pleasing experience overall. If they’ve cut corners with the design, I also can’t help but wonder what else they might have cut corners on.
Honestly, the tracking and reporting tools offered by both Bearable and Careclinic are fairly similar, with the main practical distinction being in the bonus features outside of the main symptom tracking and reporting tools. Beyond this, the one thing that truly appears to differentiate Bearable and Careclinic is their philosophy. Careclinic is run by entrepreneurial “tech experts” that want to help you stick to your care plan. Bearable is run by a person with chronic health issues that wants to help you to find news ways to manage and improve your symptoms and well-being. Ultimately, Bearable’s approach to involving the community in product decisions, its commitment to communicating with users about their needs, and trying to create tools and experiences that help people with health issues – even for free – speaks volumes about the difference in philosophy between the two companies. So, whilst Bearable might not have the sheer volume of features that Careclinic does, it makes up for it by giving you more for free, more considered features, and ultimately tools that help you to find what helps you to manage your own health beyond just the treatment plan prescribed to you.
The lasting impression I get from Careclinc is that it’s ultimately not meant to be used for free, they want you to pay for it and they remind you of this constantly. I imagine that if you do use Careclinic Premium, it’s probably very useful as a result of all of the features you’d suddenly have access to. However, I can’t help but feel that Careclinic must not have much of an interest in giving back to the chronic illness community and the people that can’t afford to use Premium. That said, there are tons of great ideas and handy guides and assessments but even these feel a little underwhelming because of the lack of attention to design or how users might experience these tools. Many of these features are shown in random places throughout the app, rather than being prompted at the right time for the user. As a result, it feels like they came up with as many ideas as they could without too much thought for the user experience. Overall, Careclinic feels like it has a ton of potential and would benefit from working more closely with people with health issues rather than taking a colder, clinical, prescriptive approach to their app.
As a member of the Bearable team, I can honestly say that we’re constantly looking at other apps – and speaking to our community about the apps they use – to understand more about what’s helping people to manage their health. Plus, as a person that lives with Depression, Anxiety, Disordered eating, and Insomnia, I’m constantly looking at new solutions that might help me with my own health and well-being. So we thought it made sense to share what we discover about other apps and health-tracking products so that you can make better informed decisions.
First and foremost, we don’t want to write hit pieces about other apps. In fact, we’d encourage people to try all sorts of apps and to use what they find most effective. Our mission is to help people to find what works and if it’s an app made by someone else, then that’s okay with us. We’ll just be happy that you found something that helps you to manage your health better. After all, we’re people with chronic health issues and we know how hard it can be to find something that works.
More than anything, we’re hoping that these reviews help you to make better choices about the apps you use and that – as a result of our experience as app developers – we can help you to identify more than just helpful features. So we’ll also include information about the security, privacy, and credibility of other health and well-being products, so that you know an app is – not only good – but also safe to use before you install it.
If you have any questions about this review, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.