Symptom Checker FAQs

General Questions

What is an engagement app?

We use the term “engagement app” to refer to an app that acts as a holder for a suite of tools. These can include our tools (Symptom Checker, First Aid Guides, Find a Doctor, etc.), and/or your own organization’s tools.

A user of an engagement app will access all the available tools from a single place on their phone, providing easy access to information wherever and whenever they need it.

Learn more here.

How do we customize our apps?

Our team combines consultative skills and advanced application design and engineering to deliver apps and web-based tools that meet your healthcare organization’s needs and objectives. Everything about our apps and tools, other than the healthcare content itself, is customizable. We will work with you to apply your brand, color palette, and unique app names to the finished product. You can expect an engagement to follow the steps outlined below.

  • Discover: we review and identify your objectives, audiences and requirements. We deliver a design document or storyboard for additional honing of concepts.
  • You Choose: the functions, features and “look” you want.
  • You Approve: the visual scope of work (SOW) we’ve assembled which captures your vision and intentions.
  • We Create and Test; You Preview: once the app is complete, we both test for functionality and accuracy to reach a “thumbs up.”
  • Launch: you apply your proven launch strategies; we share promotional best practices with your marketing team.
  • Analysis: we tag every button and action so all ‘user events’ are captured and measurable. This supports a future of data-driven edits to optimize your success.
Who is Barton Schmitt?

Dr. Barton Schmitt is the primary author of our self-triage content. He wrote the first book on pediatric telephone triage in 1980. He is a practicing pediatrician and has served as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Call Center at Children’s Hospital of Colorado since 1988.

Dr. Schmitt reviews and updates the existing triage topics on a yearly basis. The review includes input from nurses and physicians, consumers, statistical evidence (QI projects and research) and medical evidence (literature review), and feedback from a broad panel of reviewers. Important urgent changes are delivered on a timely basis, as changes occur in medicine. New care guides and topics are developed each year. All are evidenced-based, reviewed and referenced.

Questions about Symptom Checker

Why is Self Care's Symptom Checker better than others?

The Symptom Checker and the nurse triage protocols, from which it was derived, are both trusted by doctors and nurses. The Symptom Checker care guides are currently being utilized in hundreds of healthcare organization websites and portals, including more than 350 office websites and more than 30 mobile phone apps.

Our Symptom Checker has been reviewed and approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In a 2015 study by Harvard physicians, researchers found that symptom checkers based upon the Schmitt nurse triage protocols were more likely to provide appropriate triage decisions. Ours ranked as the most reliable of the triage symptom checkers.

In 2020, the landmark study (referenced above) was repeated “to investigate whether and how symptom checkers’ capabilities have evolved since 2015 and how they currently compare..” For triage symptom checkers, our content was again the most accurate (Healthy Children). Researchers evaluated our content implemented on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ parenting website, The AAP licenses our symptom checker content for use on their website and within their native mobile apps.

Top-ranked Healthy Children is the Self Care Decisions' content, implemented on the website which is licensed by the American Academy of Pediatrics


Figure 1. Overall triage accuracy of 8 symptom checkers included in both samples (2015 and 2020) and assessed on the same 45 case vignettes in 2015 and 2020.

How can we use the Symptom Checker for our hospital?

Your patients probably have a lot of questions, which you can easily answer when they are on site. But when they are elsewhere (home, work, traveling), this can become much more challenging. Our Symptom Checker app and our other tools offer a modern solution to consumer and patient health questions surrounding symptoms, child behavior and development, first aid guidelines, and medication dosages. Through a mobile app or web-based tool, you can support your clients’ healthcare decisions and provide 24/7 access to evidence-based care advice.

The Symptom Checker also acts as a referral engine. For every symptom checked, the recommended actions are to seek care or manage (minor) symptoms at home. We can connect every Seek Care outcome to your locations (ERs, Urgent Cares), your physicians (Find a Doctor) and your scheduling services for appointments and/or telemedicine.

Have more questions about how our tools can help? Get in touch now.

Can I add additional features to my apps or website (along with Symptom Checker)?

Yes! We have the following pre-built tools and features available that can be added to Symptom Checker:

  • Parent Advice Messages
  • Profile Management
  • First Aid Guides
  • Find/Map Your Physicians
  • Dosage Tables
  • Medication & Allergy Tracker
  • Push Notifications
  • Patient/Portal Access

We can also work with you to develop custom features that will complement your app offering.

How Does Content Licensing Work?

It starts with a conversation. We price the content based upon the type and size of organization you represent and the format of content deliverable which best suits your needs (website, mobile app, API). The basis for our pricing by organization type includes:

  • Hospitals and Health systems: aggregate bed size
  • Health plans, employers and countries: population or membership size
  • Practices: the number of named, primary care providers

When you are ready to discuss the details, simply Contact Us.