By Board Certified Urologist and UTI Tracker App Creator, Dr. Dana Rice
I created UTI Tracker to help patients gather information that helps me, a urologist, diagnose and treat their symptoms while giving patients education and instructions at their fingertips. It is estimated that over 100 million urinary tract infections (UTIs) are diagnosed annually, and antibiotic resistant infections are on the rise globally. This digital platform is designed to help reduce symptomatic episodes of infection, practice antibiotic stewardship and help patients prevent infection.
The UTI Tracker app enables patients to easily catalogue common triggers for painful voiding and overactive bladder (OAB). It utilizes an algorithm to log daily urinary symptoms including pain, time/volume of urination, relations to menstrual cycle, bowel movements and intercourse. Overtime, tracking enables patients to recognize patterns associated with their symptoms. For instance, some women have worsening urgency and frequency mid-cycle. These women often seek treatment for UTI and start antibiotics, even though urine cultures are ultimately negative. When these women use the app, they track their symptoms to their menstrual cycle and record that multiple cultures are negative. Establishing this pattern allows both patients and their physicians to recognize their symptoms are not bacterial, reducing the need for antibiotics in the future. These patients are better served discussing options with their gynecologist to help reduce side effects of menstruation.
The education centre offers information ranging from basic anatomy to prevention strategies utilizing supplements. Understanding the anatomical and behavioural causes for bladder/pelvic pain, OAB and UTIs helps patients advocate for themselves in an informed way. There are far too many internet sites dedicated to quick fix and dangerous solutions. Keeping the education center easy to understand while giving medically sound advice was very important to me. I believe once patients understand and take ownership of their urinary tract health they improve exponentially.
From a physician’s point of view, the extra details in the app such as voiding diary and infection log are extremely useful for organizing information quickly. OAB patients can log daily voiding habits into the app and print out an easy to read voiding diary in excel format. Infections can be logged with colony count, associated resistance patterns and treatment drug with dosage for printing as well. There are simple touch pop-ups detailing how to read culture reports and selections for common bacteria and antibiotics.
I designed the app with technology that I love, pop-up reminders that I can turn on and off. You can set timers to remember to drink water, void and take supplements. For example, many patients tend to hold urine for hours at a time while working. One of the easiest tricks to help prevent urinary incontinence and infection is to follow a timed voiding schedule. With this app you can set a bathroom break reminder. It is a discreet pop-up with the app icon that can be set in different intervals to help remind users to void. Keep a look out for education tips and warnings that also populate based on user input.
I have been using the app with my patients for a few years prior to working with UTIVA®. While I could see the immediate use and functionality with my patients, I wanted a way to help expand the platform. Teaming up, we now have data to show that regular app users have improvement in symptoms and shorter episodes by more than 80%. Additionally, 81% of users report a reduction in the number of UTIs. Education and data collection that helps your provider make a better diagnosis and plan is the goal.
Having a digital platform contribute to improving women’s and urologic health and working with a company dedicated to the same is something I cherish. In a recent survey, 94% of users would recommend this app to family and friends. As a urologist, who had chronic UTIs, a mother of a child with vesicoureteral reflux and a friend to so many who have suffered with urologic problems; UTIs, urinary incontinence, OAB, chronic catheterization, I am excited to keep working with UTIVA® to continue to explore the ways we can continue to make a difference in urologic health.