Should you use apps to produce evidence for benefits claims?
Many thanks to everyone who responded to our request for tips and experiences in the article asking ‘How hard is it to get medical evidence for your benefits claim?’
There are some very valuable suggestions and cautionary tales which we will be following up on in the next newsletter.
Meanwhile, however, a number of readers have written about apps and websites, both NHS and other, which can be used to get evidence and we’d like to hear about your experience of using them
Or your reasons for not doing so.
Below are some of the options people told us about.
According to the NHS website the NHS app allows you to ‘securely access your GP health record, to see information like your allergies and your current and past medicines. If your GP has given you access to your detailed medical record, you can also see information like test results and details of your consultations’.
Some people felt, not unreasonably, that they had no hope of a detailed letter from their GP, but that a list of diagnoses, test results, medication and appointments was a valuable collection of evidence to support their claim.
Patient knows best
This app says that it includes all your appointments, medical correspondence, test results, medication lists and care plans.
Again, this may be a source of useable medical information to support your claim.
My Long Covid
The ‘My Long COVID Needs assessment tool’ says that it helps you to understand your current Long COVID symptoms, your needs, what to do next and what help you can get. It’s anonymous and takes 5-10 minutes to complete.
Given the wide range and variability of Long Covid symptoms, something which helps you record and organise them might be very useful.
Clearly this is a self-assessment tool, rather than medical evidence from a health agency. But if it provides evidence in an organized and well presented fashion, it might be very helpful.
Pain tracker apps
There seem to be a lot of pain tracker apps, including free ones that can be downloaded. They offer the possibility of keeping a detailed log of where you experience pain, how severe it is and how long it lasts.
My Pain Diary says it allows you to track your pain and symptoms and create a downloadable .pdf report to share with health professionals.
There’s also a list of arthritis apps compiled by AbilityNet
The value of a pain tracker app would be to allow you to record details of the pain you experience over a period of perhaps several weeks and present this as evidence of the ways in which your condition affects your everyday activities.
Once more, it’s self-assessment, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.
In particular, apps like these may be really helpful in helping you to show how your condition varies and for how much of the time you are likely to meet the criteria for any given benefit. They may take away some of the guesswork and show that your self-assessment is based on careful observations.
Mental health apps
Some mental health apps include mood and thought diaries and habit trackers. Mind in Brighton and Hove have compiled a list of some of those they consider most useful.
As with pain tracker apps, these may prove to be helpful in compiling and organizing evidence about the way your condition affects your everyday activities.
Are apps useful?
Have you used any of these apps?
Would you avoid using them because of privacy or other concerns?