Welcome to Family HQ – Your new medication tracker app

Welcome to Family HQ and our first ever blog post!

Family HQ is what we hope will become the go-to medication tracker app to help Australian families manage their kid’s medications when they’re unwell, their general health and hopefully one day soon, we’ll be helping families worldwide.

Seeing as this is our first blog, I’d better introduce myself! I’m Liz Crowe and I’m a Registered Emergency Nurse, mum of two and co-founder of Family HQ.

How did Family HQ begin?

I had the initial idea for a medication tracker app when I had my first son Harry. I remember at one point feeling so tired and foggy that it was difficult to recall exactly when I’d given him paracetamol for a fever. I thought to myself that surely there must be a better way to help track medications?

I couldn’t find anything at the time, but didn’t think too much more about it. It wasn’t until my second son Ollie was born and I was trying to manage two unwell babies that I thought seriously about the app again. I wasn’t able to find anything suitable that could track medications as well as share information between family members. That’s when I started thinking that perhaps I could create something myself, because if I was a Registered Nurse and was struggling, surely other parents must be too?

My sister Sarah is a GP Obstetrician, practice owner and an Academic Clinician, as well as being a mum of three boys. I approached her with my idea for the app to see firstly what she thought and secondly to ask if she wanted to partner on the project with me. While it was only an idea and she’d initially said that 2019 was going to be her year of saying ‘no’, as clinicians we both knew it was something desperately needed by parents.

Despite having more than enough on her plate, she said yes. In early 2019 we set off to create the best medication tracker app possible to help make life a little easier for busy families when they have a sick child in the household – whether it’s a common cold or chronic condition.

Why is tracking medication so important?

Time and time again, we’ve both seen tired, overwhelmed parents with sick children present to the emergency department with only a vague idea of when the last dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen has been given. Sometimes they’ve accidentally overdosed their child with incorrect dosages or providing medication too frequently.

Of course no parent wants to incorrectly medicate their child, but with broken sleep, a little one who is more demanding of your time than usual, scribbled notes on the kitchen counter-top and often two parents and other carers all in the mix – you start to understand how easy it can be to lose track!

Parents should understand the importance of following dosing information for all medications, regardless of whether they’re over-the-counter or prescription. Unfortunately, though, because medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen are so readily available, their unintended misuse is far more common than we’d like.

While they’re safe and effective for use in children and adults when administered correctly, paracetamol (products like Panadol and Dymadon) and ibuprofen (products like Nurofen for Children and Advil), can actually be harmful if used too often.

For example, paracetamol poisoning is the most common cause of severe liver injury  in Western countries. Paracetamol is also the single most common reason for calls to Poisons Information Centres in both Australia and New Zealand.

Sarah and I had anecdotal evidence as both healthcare professionals and parents that this could be a problem, and our research into the issue showed that unintentional overdose of medications like paracetamol is on the rise. We realised that parents needed more guidance and accessible information to help them better manage pain and fever for their children.

In particular, we know that parents and carers need information on what the recommended uses of paracetamol actually are, the different strengths and doses e.g. baby’s paracetamol vs. children’s paracetamol, how best to administer medication, maximum daily dosages and the maximum duration of use – especially in children who are at risk of toxicity with chronic dosing.

That’s why we were both incredibly passionate about creating an effective and easy-to-use medication tracker app for families to track dosages and timing.

Our solution

After more than 14 months of research, sketching out our ideas, refinement and finally building the app we are almost ready to release The Family HQ App!

Family HQ is designed for busy parents just like you (and me!) who want a simple, effective and safe way to track their family’s medications. Whether it’s during the cold & flu season and you’ve got multiple family members taking pain & fever relief, or your little one has a chronic health condition that requires regular medication, Family HQ is designed to help you better manage your family’s health.

We’ve created the Family HQ App to be a simple way for you to seamlessly record, track and manage all the information about your child’s medication doses and times as well as their health management plans. It’s designed for multiple family members and carers to input information and for easy sharing with health professionals when necessary. No more guess work, no more scribbled notes in the middle of the night.

Sarah and myself hope that Family HQ will change the way Australian families manage their health and medications. We are so passionate about educating parents and providing them with factual information in an easy-to-understand way. Which is why we’re so excited that the app is coming – very soon!!

We’ve got tonnes of family-focused research-backed information, tips and ideas to share with you on our blog over the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned! And if there is anything you’d like us to share about family health and medicine on our blog or on future Facebook or Instagram Lives just let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

Liz xx

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