I have been struggling with an eating disorder for the past few years. I am afraid to eat and afraid I will gain weight. The fear is unjustified as I was never overweight. I have weighed the same since I was 12 years old, and I am currently nearing my 25th birthday. Yet, when I see my reflection, I see somebody who is much larger than reality.
I told my therapist that I thought I was fat. She said it was 'body dysmorphia'.
She explained this as a mental health condition where a person is apprehensive about their appearance and suggested I visit a nutritionist. She also told me that this condition was associated with other anxiety disorders and eating disorders. I did not understand what she was saying as I was in denial; I had a problem, to begin with. I wanted a solution without having to address my issues.
Upon visiting my nutritionist, he conducted an in-body scan and told me my body weight was dangerously low.
I disagreed with him.
I felt he was speaking about a different person than the person I saw in the mirror. I felt like the elephant in the room- both literally and figuratively. He then made the simple but revolutionary suggestion to keep a food diary to track what I was eating.
This was a clever way for my nutritionist and me to be on the same page. By recording all my meals, drinks, and snacks, I was able to see what I was eating versus what I was supposed to be eating. Keeping a meal diary was a powerful and non-invasive way for my nutritionist to walk in my shoes for a specific time and understand my eating (and thinking) habits.
No other methodology would have allowed my nutritionist to capture so much contextual and behavioural information on my eating patterns other than a daily detailed food diary.
However, by using a paper and pen, I often forgot (or intentionally did not enter my food entries) as I felt guilty reading what I had eaten or that I had eaten at all.
I also did not have the visual flexibility to express myself through using photos, videos, voice recordings, and screen recordings. The usage of multiple media sources would have allowed my nutritionist to observe my behaviour in real-time and gain a holistic view of my physical and emotional needs.
I confessed to my therapist my deliberate dishonesty in completing the physical food diary and why I had been reluctant to participate in the exercise. My therapist then suggested to my nutritionist and me to transition to a mobile diary study.
Whilst I used a physical diary (paper and pen), a mobile diary study app would have helped my nutritionist and me reach a common ground (and to be on the same page) sooner rather than later.
As a millennial, I wanted to feel like journaling was as easy as Tweeting or posting a picture on Instagram. But at the same time, I wanted to know that the information I provided in a digital diary would be as safe and private as it would have been as my handwritten diary locked in my bedroom cabinet.
Further, a digital food diary study platform with push notifications would have served as a constant reminder to log in my food entries as I constantly check my phone. It would have also made the task of writing a food diary less momentous by transforming my journaling into micro-journaling by allowing me to enter one bite at a time rather than the whole day's worth of meals at once.
Mainly, the digital food diary could help collect the evidence that I was not the elephant in the room, but rather that the elephant in the room was my denied eating disorder.
The elephant in the room
Your forms on Teamscope just got way more powerful with a new feature: public forms.
On Teamscope, you have always been able to build fully custom data collection forms. Unfortunately, to view them and collect data, you needed to have a user account.
In some situations, like conducting online surveys or working with the elderly population, requiring a participant to create an account was certainly a barrier.
That limitation disappears today with a new way of collecting data on Teamscope.
You can now share any of your forms on Teamscope as a public form. When enabled, anyone that uses the link can complete the form without needing a user account.
To enable this feature, go to the form builder and switch on “Share to web”.
Here is an example: https://app.teamscope.co/surveys/7846f8fa7b0f77cf
You may also embed your forms in websites or blog posts:
Cases are used on Teamscope to group entries and make longitudinal data collection easier. A case on Teamscope can be a person or any entity that you need to keep track of across time.
When collecting data with a public form, those entries will appear anonymous and not have a case associated with them.
By going to data on the web dashboard, you may now assign anonymous entries to any case.
Mary is a participant in a clinical study. Before she is enrolled, Mary completes a public form where she fills in her contact information and checks if she qualifies for the study.
Mary’s data entry is via a public form which means that it won’t have a case associated with it in your database.
After enrolling on the study, you create a case for Mary called “Mary Doe”. Since Mary now does have a case in your database, you can move the original entry from the public form under her case. Viola! Now all of the data from Mary is nicely organised under her case.
Our mission is to enable life-changing research wherever it’s needed.
The new public forms are a step in the right direction of giving you the freedom to use your forms on Teamscope wherever you need them. When we say wherever you need it, we mean it seriously.
We are solidifying our proposition of being an all-in-one data collection solution for researchers with this new milestone. As a researcher can now use the same form on Teamscope for:
This wasn’t in the plan early on. I started Teamscope to make research data collection from an iPhone or Android device as easy and straightforward as it could.
Designing software for small screens demands that we embrace the philosophy of “less is more” and “addition by subtraction”. Eventually, last year, we felt it was the right time to scale our solution, primarily an Android and iOS app to desktop screens.
This new chapter in our product roadmap is exhilarating, and we can’t wait to see where you take Teamscope with you.
In our next 3-week development cycle, we will be implementing archiving, restoring and deleting data permanently.
When doing data collection, you will want to test your forms before you go live and ensure that everything is working correctly. During that testing time, you will end up with dummy data in your database and that you will want out of your way once live data collection starts.
With this new feature, you will be able to archive data, restore it if you or anyone in your team archived it by mistake, and permanently delete it.
Got a feature idea? We love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org) and get any thoughts on how to improve Teamscope.
West African Lead, ALMA Youth Advisory Council/Zero Malaria Champion
Build fully customizable data capture forms, collect data wherever you are and analyze it with a few clicks — without any training required.
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Dear Digital Diary,
I realized that there is an unquestionable comfort in being misunderstood. For to be understood, one must peel off all the emotional layers and be exposed.
This requires both vulnerability and strength. I guess by using a physical diary (a paper and a pen), I never felt like what I was saying was analyzed or judged. But I also never thought I was understood.
Paper does not talk back.Using a daily digital diary has required emotional strength. It has required the need to trust and the need to provide information to be helped and understood.
Using a daily diary has needed less time and effort than a physical diary as I am prompted to interact through mobile notifications. I also no longer relay information from memory, but rather the medical or personal insights I enter are real-time behaviours and experiences.
The interaction is more organic. I also must confess this technology has allowed me to see patterns in my behaviour that I would have otherwise never noticed. I trust that the data I enter is safe as it is password protected. I also trust that I am safe because my doctor and nutritionist can view my records in real-time.
Also, with the data entered being more objective and diverse through pictures and voice recordings, my treatment plan has been better suited to my needs.
No more elephants in this room