We at eMoods believe there are many paths towards living a fuller and more meaningful life, but they all start with personal responsibility and awareness. Tracking your mood symptoms and sharing them with a confidant, like a psychiatrist or therapist, is a definitive first step towards successfully managing and treating mental illness. But this is a step that can only be taken by you, the patient. eMoods allows patients to take direct control of their illness management by mood tracking. Below are several specific reasons why we believe that mood tracking and being your own best caretaker is so critical to your wellness.
1. Nobody knows more about you than you. Recording your moods, symptoms, and medications can help you be honest with YOURSELF, and in turn be honest with your doctor or therapist. Being able to look at your tracked mood data can help you learn what you and your body need to heal. Mood tracking allows you to see what therapies or self-care work for you, and also what doesn’t work for you. Taking time to reflect on the data is critical.
2. Your tracked mood data is your single source of truth. Psychiatrists and therapists often take notes and compile data during sessions to document the patient’s progress in illness management, but their notes are THEIR observations of your journey. The journey through these mental and physical states is YOURS to experience and document, and you should own the blueprints of your experience. A mood tracker like eMoods gives you the ability to create your set of “blueprints.”
3. You have the right to share only what you want to share with respect to your body and mind. Of course, we do highly recommend that you do not keep things from your psychiatrist or therapist, especially thoughts about self-harm. But ultimately, that is your decision, and it’s perfectly ok to be mindful of where your data goes, who sees it, and what decisions are being made because of it. But like any other personal right, the right of data privacy comes with a lot of responsibility! You need to be truthful with yourself and your provider when keeping records. For example, accurately documenting how you have, or have not, taken your prescribed dosage is incredibly important to ensure that you are on the proper medications. It doesn’t do yourself any good to hide this information from your provider, or to be untruthful about it.
4. Your personal medical data should not be used for marketing purposes, research purposes, or given to law enforcement without your permission—ever! When data is out of your control, it is hard to determine exactly who sees it. From eMoods’ perspective, your tracked mood data is meant to be seen by you and your healthcare provider (if you want them to!) only. However, some mood tracking tools have third parties working with them to increase marketing or to sell additional features or add-ons within their apps. Privacy laws provide some protection for residents in certain countries, but the laws aren’t the same everywhere and they can change any time. For more information on the stickier parts of medical data privacy laws, we recommend reading this article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a longtime champion in advocating for data privacy.
You need to trust the source that you’re recording your data in. A paper journal is great, but it’s hard to carry around with you all day and record things as they happen. The next best thing is a smartphone. You should be comfortable with any smartphone app you use to enter personal details about yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable using an app because you aren’t sure who is seeing your data at the end of the day, then you shouldn’t use it.
With eMoods Classic, your data is stored only on your device and is in your total control. We don’t collect, sell, or share this data with anyone, ever, but we especially cannot do that for our Classic users because the data is stored locally on your phone only. If you don’t believe us, try this: turn your phone to airplane mode, and open the eMoods Classic app. You’ll see that it continues to work just fine without any internet connection. That is because your data is only on your phone, and doesn’t rely on an internet connection. If you delete the app from your phone, your data is gone. The downsides to this are: 1) if you accidentally delete the app, and don’t have a back up, the data is gone most likely forever; and 2) sharing the data with your healthcare provider takes a few extra steps of exporting the data from your phone, and then sharing the data file through a secure method.
With eMoods Insights (the web version of the tracking app) there is more convenience and a fuller feature set, but you must be comfortable with storing your data in a secure cloud-based computer system. This is no different than any other trusted cloud app that you currently add your personal data to, like financial institution or social media apps. Cloud-based apps prevent unwanted data loss, and in the case of eMoods provides a more automated way to share data with a healthcare provider. But some people just aren’t comfortable with cloud-based storage, and that is why we also offer eMoods Classic. It really all comes down to your personal comfort level in whether you want to use eMoods Classic or eMoods Insights. Either way, you can be assured that the eMoods company will never use your data for marketing purposes, research purposes, or given to anyone without your permission—ever!
For more information on data privacy and ownership, we recommend reading the full report on Medical Privacy by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Still have questions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.