Meet Tammy van Dongen, caregiver to her father Frank who has IPF


We are excited to share our recent chat with Tammy whose father has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and uses the patientMpower app.

Hello! My name is Tammy van Dongen and I’m from Monroe, GA

My dad, Frank Wernet, has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). He was diagnosed with IPF in December 2016 at the age of 71. My dad found that climbing stairs was making him breathless and looking back, he had been experiencing a cough. At this time, he has been deemed “too healthy” to be considered for a lung transplant.

Where did you learn about patientMpower app? I’m pretty sure I first noticed patientMpower on Twitter. I follow people in the PF community via my Twitter account. I thought the app sounded like something my dad would really get something out of. I contacted Eamonn Costello and the patientMpower team and was told the app was only available in the UK at that time. I was pleasantly surprised when, months later, Eamonn reached out to let me know a version was ready for the US.

What is the benefit of having the patientMpower app? My dad keeps REALLY detailed notes in a journal where he can track symptoms. The app works really well in that area. It will never replace his handwritten entries, but will supplement it. I live in Georgia while my parents live in Pennsylvania. As the app continues to develop, I look forward to being able to “check-in” on Dad from time to time. I think it is also a great way to share data with his doctors and track the effect of taking IPF meds on his numbers.

What is your favorite application to use? (step counter, spirometer, reminder to take meds) I gave my dad a Fitbit for Father’s Day 2017 and he uses it religiously. After meeting Eamonn and Colin in Nashville at the PF Summit, I got the compatible spirometer and explanation of the app from him. A few weeks later I visited my parents and helped Dad download the app and get him started. We also bought the wireless pulse-ox meter through PatientMpower. My dad LOVES the pulse-ox meter and it’s worth every penny we paid.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients can download the patientMpower app for FREE from the App Store on Apple or on Google Play.

We’d love to share YOUR story! Please contact to get started!

by Jennifer Bulandr