Isabel’s story - from charity to Symptom Checker

The Isabel Story

Today Isabel Healthcare is a global brand covering professional tools for doctors and a free Isabel Symptom Checker for everyone. The company actually started out, however, as a charity, and the inspiration behind that charity, and indeed the company’s name, was a 3 year-old girl.

Meet Isabel

The origin of Isabel Healthcare

In 1999 Isabel Maude contracted chicken pox. This relatively mild condition, which usually clears up within a couple of weeks, was causing Isabel great distress: she was vomiting and had a very high fever which is unusual for Chicken Pox, and Isabel’s parents, Charlotte and Jason, instinctively felt something was wrong. Their family doctor and local hospital assured them there was nothing to be alarmed about, and misdiagnosed Isabel with just a severe case of chicken pox. The chicken pox had developed, however, into the much more serious conditions of necrotising fasciitis and toxic shock. Following cardiac arrest and multiple organ failure, Isabel spent two months in hospital including three weeks in intensive care. Despite some very close calls and a lot of distress, Isabel finally pulled through. Despite having to endure years of reconstructive surgery, she is now a healthy young woman studying at University – she even managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015.

 

The Isabel Medical Charity

Jason and Charlotte were told they had a case for “clinical ignorance,” and that the diagnosis had been missed simply because it was uncommon and had not been considered. Rather than take legal action, they asked the question “how can we help stop this happening again?” At this point the Isabel Medical Charity was founded, with the aim to improve diagnostic processes and help doctors with their job. There are thousands of diseases and one doctor cannot be expected to remember them all. So the Isabel Medical Charity set about creating a pediatric tool that would bring up a list of all the possible diagnoses for an entered set of symptoms. This way no diseases, particularly the rare and more dangerous conditions, could be missed.

Ready to leave

 

Isabel Healthcare

Following the success of the pediatric tool, the Isabel Medical Charity wanted to include adult diseases within the system. The structure of a charity, however, was no longer sustainable for raising funds to build the adult system. For this reason, in 2004 the company Isabel Healthcare was created, with the Isabel Medical Charity remaining to this day one of the largest shareholders in the company. An adult and pediatric tool was created in 2006.

Isabel Symptom Checker

The origin of Isabel Healthcare

True to its original mission of improving diagnosis, Isabel Healthcare began looking to the patients as well as the healthcare professionals. If we as patients could be more empowered and have a better dialogue with our doctors, could that help avoid a misdiagnosis? Isabel Healthcare adapted the professional Isabel diagnostic tool to be a comprehensive, easy-to-use symptom checker for everyone, and in 2012 the Isabel Symptom Checker was released. It was most importantly free, and still is to this day, meaning everyone has access to a tool that can help them understand and research their own symptoms.