Lockport father creates app to help son with Cystic Fibrosis
BY: Community Papers of WNY Staff | November 03, 2012
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic illness that affects the lungs and digestive systems of 30,000 adults and children in the United States today. To combat this statistic, a local father created and just launched a phone app to help him administer Cystic Fibrosis treatments to his son.
When a child has Cystic Fibrosis their body produces a thick, mucus from a defective gene and its protein product. This sticky material clogs the lungs, leads to infections, obstructs the pancreas and causes poor digestion. To treat the illness in infants and young children, chest physical therapy (PT) is often conducted to loosen up the mucus that forms around the lungs.
Jason Phipps and his wife Meaghan, whose son was born with Cystic Fibrosis, perform a chest PT procedure every day to clear breathing pathways. This entails tapping ten areas around their son’s chest, back and lung regions for three minutes each to help break up any mucus.
As this became increasingly difficult to keep track of the time consistently, while holding their son upright and tapping his chest, Phipps developed an app that included countdowns, reminders and alarms to help with this process.
The app allows the user to set the total number of positions on the patient’s body where the treatment must occur, the number of minutes that the tapping action must be performed per position and a time period for resting in between each position. An alert displays on the phone to let the user know when it’s time to change positions, which can also be customizable. To engage the child, animal sounds and graphics with a celebration screen appears that incorporates the patient’s name when a treatment is complete.
The timer itself is a graphical representation of the countdown instead of just a clock, and continues to operate even when the phone screen automatically locks. Daily reminders can also be set to remind the parent when it’s time for their child’s treatment.
“I wanted to create a tool that was available for everyone to use who was dealing with similar issues,” said Phipps. “Utilizing my phone just made administering treatments easier, since it’s convenient and widely used. Why not take advantage of the technology around you to make the best out of any situation.”
The app is free and can be easily downloaded from the Apple Store.
For more information on the app itself visit www.Facebook.com/ChestPT.
To find out more ways to help fight Cystic Fibrosis visit www.cff.org.