You are not a hat.


A couple of months ago, at a digital health conference, I introduced Symple to a woman who works in public health. When I explained that one of Symple's capabilities is to document symptoms over time, her reaction was, "That sounds like a hypochondriac's dream and a doctor's nightmare."

It wasn't the first time I'd heard this; usually I'd just shrug it off. But this time, I stood up for my product and for my customers:

"If by 'a hypochondriac,' you mean someone who is experiencing something scary and mystifying, something they are trying to manage, especially if they don't have access to care, then yes, Symple is a dream. And if by 'a doctor,' you mean a clinician who has little regard for a patient's wellbeing, and instead only considers a patient through labs, scans and billing codes...well then yes, this is indeed a nightmare. Because Symple forces those clinicians to remember that their patient is there for a reason, that something is amiss in their lives, and they are seeking help."

Symple is an odd thing. I designed it to deal with my own problem, but it's evolved over time to suit many needs, many customers, and many use cases. I never thought it would succeed because the idea seemed so obvious, and I was distinctly unqualified to bring a digital health product to market. 

Nevertheless, for eight years, I've updated the code and refreshed the design; I've bored investors and dodged sketchy offers; I've enjoyed corresponding with end users and sometimes their clinicians. Throughout this journey, I have worked hard to adhere to my belief that everyone is a fellow traveler and worthy of my compassion and respect.


"To restore the human subject at the centre - the suffering, afflicted, fighting, human subject - we must deepen a case history to a narrative or tale."  - Oliver Sacks, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" 


natasha gajewski