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Connecting Caregivers

By | SoHealth

Photo of John Thornton EventLast Friday I had the privilege of attending an event in Cincinnati that brought parents of children with autism together. The event was put on by John Thornton, former Defensive Tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans, co-founder of JockBiz and all around great guy. John raises money for autism and throws events like this one as a way for parents to have one night to themselves, among other people with similar circumstances. I volunteered to be there to talk with anybody interested about ways social networks and social media can be used to connect with people around health topics. like autism.

Prior to the event, I went online to put a cheat sheet together that highlighted some lists, as well as people on Twitter that had identified themselves around the word autism. I also found some links of great resources from a Google search, that made it on the cheat sheet as well. Check it out below:

Over the course of two hours, I hit everybody up and used the cheat sheet to spread the good word about the power of social media with regards to health topics. What I learned was that, in general, people who have children with autism are looking to connect with one another in the real world. Something else I learned was that I live in a bubble. Everybody in America doesn’t love the Internet as much as I do.

So the big take-away for me was that the on-line world is great, for a lot of people… but the digital divide is very real. I personally feel that the Internet is at its best when it’s used to find and connect people and information around topics of interest. Now I find myself thinking about how that all applies to people with either no connectivity or no interest in the Internet.

What do you think?

#hcsmvac is Building Immunization Awareness with Social Media

By | SoHealth

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, in case you weren’t aware. A couple months ago, my friend, Dr. April Foreman, introduced me to an impromptu group of health advocates who were all interested in the practical application of social media to raise awareness around immunizations. The group has been organized using online tools, and picked a single target city with a historically low vaccination rate in Kansas City, Missouri.

The concept of a small group of people getting together to volunteer their skills for a cause was intriguing to me. Even more intriguing, however, is the idea of a virtual flash mob stemming from the small core group’s efforts. This is most commonly seen in Internet memes, and I thought it would cool to be a part of something like it for health. The group may or may not be successful at creating an immunization meme, but I figured that volunteering would be a great excuse to put some things I’ve learned, and some things I wanted to try, together to contribute.

Social Media Infrastructure

Two big benefits of using online social tools is cost and utility. In this case, the group wanted to have a single place online for all  related activities to filter through. But this space also needed to be able to capture what anybody was doing to be a part of the cause. To facilitate this, the group came up with a unique tag in #hcsmvac. HCSM stands for Health Care Social Media and is an ongoing Sunday night Twitter chat from 9pm -10pm Eastern.

Once the tag existed, the group needed a central platform for all #hcsmvac tagged content to roll through. My old boss, Greg Matthews, was big on this at Humana’s Innovation Center. The central hub can pull in tagged content from multiple social media sources and display them all in one place, allowing everybody to stay up with the group’s most recent news. In this case, the central hub also allows anybody to be recognized for creating tagged content around the cause, as well.

The team chose About.me as the hub platform, because it is free and allows you to pull in multiple feeds into a single online destination. Check it out here: http://about.me/hcsmvac

takeaway A unique tagging convention and central hub is all you need to attempt to start a movement.

My Contributions

google map I am a huge nerd when it comes to Google Maps, among other things. So one thing I knew I could contribute would be a map. Since the group had zeroed in on Kansas City, MO, I thought it would be helpful to locate all of the immunization hotspots in the city. Google Maps allows me to share this publicly once I am finished and the result can be found here: KC Vaccination Map

I got a lot of props from the group for doing this, but I found it to be insanely easy because Google has already done all of the work. All I did was perform Google searches, from within Google Maps, for key words like “immunization” or “vaccine” in Kansas City, MO. When you click on one of the results, on the map, an information box will pop up giving you the option to save the destination to one of your maps. Clicking “Save to Map” will open up a drop down box that allows you to select one of your maps. Clicking “Save” saves it to the map you’ve created and allows you to do it again for the next destination. That’s it. Easy, huh?

qr code Now that we had a map of destinations, and an associated link, we needed a way for people to access the map if they weren’t near their computers. The idea of making posters that linked to the vaccination map via QR Code seemed like the way to go… but how is this possible?

It turns out that making your own QR Code is easy, as well, again with Google. The first step is to head over to goo.gl, which is a URL shortener/QR Code Generator. Paste your link into the box and click “Shorten.” Then look down and click on “Details” for the URL you just created. This will lead you to an analytics page that also contains your QR Code. Right click the QR Code to save it to your desktop and now you have a QR Code that you can put on things like…

posters As a kid growing up, I dreaded getting shots. I have my own kids now, and they dread getting shots. Once I turned 21, however, the word shots took on a whole new meaning. When Dr. Foreman was first telling me about #hcsmvac, we both got a laugh out of the negative and positive connotations associated with the word shots, depending on how old you are… I thought it would be funny to make a simple poster about “Doing Shots” that could go up in bars around Kansas City, MO, and created one:

Building on the concept of shots, last week I followed this excellent photoshop tutorial to create the poster at the top of this post, because I thought it would look cool.

Now that you know about #hcsmvac, how can you use social media to contribute and spread the word?

Mood 24/7 In The News & One Year Celebration

By | SoHealth

Mood 24/7 lets you text in and track your mood on a daily basisThis week marks my one year anniversary with Mood 24/7, and today Mood 24/7 was featured  on a Kansas Public Radio piece called: A New Way to Track Mood Changes. Perfect timing. Bryan Thompson, who is the Health Reporter at KPR, interviewed Dr. Adam Kaplin (Mood 24/7’s inventor) Dr. April Foreman (A Mood 24/7 Early Adopter), a Mood 24/7 member, and me, to give a full account of how Mood 24/7 revolutionizes healthcare for people suffering from mental injury or illness.

Please click on the link and listen to the five minute clip to hear for yourself: LINK

Mood 24/7 Year In Review

I also figured that this would be as good a place as any to take some time and reflect on last year’s journey.  In one year, a small but agile team within HealthCentral has: completely overhauled the look and feel of the Mood 24/7 experience, added the ability to provide updates directly on the website and from E-mail as well as text message, and added features like Daily Averages and Member Sorting for Health Professionals.

These upgrades ultimately led to the quadrupling of Mood/7’s Monthly Active User (MAU) base, with an average of 70% of our active users responding to texts on a daily basis. We’ve also reduced our monthly churn by 12% and 35% of our membership journals with the service on top of providing numerical daily mood ratings. Mood 24/7 is open to the public and free for general use, and we’re currently being used within multiple organizations inside of Johns Hopkins University, within two American College Counselor’s Association campus Counseling Centers and in a rural Community Mental Health organization in Coffeyville, KS.

It’s been an awesome ride so far, and I’m very grateful and  fortunate to be a part of this effort that both helps people and helps save lives.


Mood 24/7 was developed by HealthCentral based on technology licensed exclusively from Johns Hopkins University to help you track your daily mood. Sign up for free and pick a time of day to receive a text message. You can even share your results with doctors, family and friends in your trusted circle.

Mood 24/7… Now with E-mail reminders

By | SoHealth

Photo of a mailbox to signify that Mood 24/7 now has E-mail remindersOver the past 10 months, it’s become clear that text messages just don’t work for some people. They either don’t have a text plan, have a plan that makes it hard to receive texts from a shortcode, or don’t live in the U.S. We’ve been listening. I’m happy to announce that Mood 24/7 now allows users to set up E-mail reminders in lieu of text message reminders, giving you three ways now to track and update your mood on a daily basis.

Please note that if you’re happy receiving text messages from Mood 24/7, then this change will not affect you in any way. However, if you would like to start receiving E-mail reminders from Mood 24/7, instead of text message reminders, then this new feature is for you. It’s important to understand that if you opt in to start receiving E-mail reminders from Mood 24/7, they will work exactly the same way that the text message reminders work. However, instead of receiving a text message from Mood 24/7 once a day, you’ll receive an E-mail.

The daily E-mail has a link that leads to a secure web form where you’ll enter your numerical mood rating and optional comments. Clicking Post will submit your update to your account, and then you’re done.


new account If you’re creating a new Mood 24/7 account, then simply select E-mail for your Daily Mood Prompt and you will receive E-mails from Mood 24/7 at the time you specify, each day.

A picture of the Daily Mood Prompt toggler

existing account If you already have a Mood 24/7 account and would like to switch from receiving text message reminders to E-mail reminders, then follow these instructions:

–          Log into your account

–          Click Account in the right hand navigation

–          Then Click Account Settings

–          Look for Daily Message Prompt in your Account Settings and click Change

–          Click the drop down box and select E-mail

–          Click Update and you’re done

Mood 24/7 Account Settings Change Picture


I’m excited that Mood 24/7 can take your mood ratings via text message, directly on the website and now from E-mail. Start getting E-mail reminders today and let me know what you think.


Mood 24/7 was developed by HealthCentral based on technology licensed exclusively from Johns Hopkins University to help you track your daily mood. Sign up for free and pick a time of day to receive a text message. You can even share your results with doctors, family and friends in your trusted circle.

5 Things That Caught My Attention at the Health Data Initiative Forum

By | SoHealth

Distinguished Panel on stage at Health Data Initiative Forum 2011Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the 2011 Health Data Initiative Forum at the National Institutes of Health’s Natcher Conference Center. In case you weren’t able to make it, the hashtag was #healthapps, and here are 5 things that caught my attention at this year’s forum:

Ozioma – Ozioma is a site, currently finishing up testing, that allows health reporters to look up local health statistics and put them together in an online workspace to generate stories. I really liked the idea of a single place to pull together local health data. The big deal here in my mind is the virtual workspace that Ozioma provides. The service allows you to drag things into your online “notebook” and actually construct the story with the click of a few buttons.

CountyHealthRankings.org – Along the same lines as Ozioma, in the afternoon I sat in on the Information Needs of Communities and Counties and was amazed at the resource that allows people to quickly identify health indicators by county. In the session public health professionals discussed the tools that exist, while also talking about the challenges they are faced with today. The sentiment seemed to be that data is great but the data needs to be formatted in a way so that it is actionable. This need will lead to more and better visualizations, in my opinion, and that excites me.

ElizaLIVE – In short, ElizaLIVE uses technology to engage people in conversations about their health. I was intrigued by ElizaLive because the service then places patients into groups, based on survey responses, so that payers can tailor specific intervention programs to increase response rates. The technology looked great and the team was super cool, as I approached them at their exhibit table in the afternoon to get my head around the service.

Asthmapolis – I learned about Asthmapolis last year around this time, and their big announcement this year was that they have successfully demonstrated positive change in health outcomes and will be scaling the service to an entire county in North Carolina. If you haven’t heard of Asthmapolis, it is a  device that can be affixed to an inhaler so that GPS data is pushed to a central server and mapped in realtime.

PatientsLikeMe – PatientsLikeMe is now able to connect their large self reporting patient population to clinical trials around the world. This means that if you have been diagnosed with a particular condition, and are a member of the PatientsLikeMe community, you can now easily find clinical trials that relate to your condition in close proximity to you. The presentation was great, and PatientsLikeMe ended up winning best in show for this new capability.

Final Thoughts

The Government is doing everything they can to help ignite a groundswell of innovation in the health sector and I am a big fan. What I think is needed at future events is more disclosure on numbers as well as the “Behind the Music” stories of how things are being built, what’s going wrong and what’s going right. We’re all acquiring scars from our trailblazing efforts in this new territory, and more transparency in that regard helps everyone out. PatientsLikeMe did exactly this, by relaying the story behind how their new clinical trials capability was conceptualized, how it works, and what it has done to date. I personally think this presentation tactic had a lot to do with why they won best in show, and am hopeful that more health innovators will follow suit.

We’re all in this together, and I’m personally looking forward to next year’s forum. Special thanks to Aman Bhandari for his work putting it all together and for allowing me to be a part of it.

The Verdict Is In: Monday Is Not The Worst Day Of The Week

By | SoHealth

It’s amazing what a single piece of data, recorded daily, can tell you. This time, we set out to discover the best and worst days of the week by anonymously aggregating at least 50 mood ratings from 500 Mood 24/7 members. The results were different than expected. While 14% of Mood 24/7 members feel that Monday is their worst day of the week, a whopping 19%, or 5% more,  feel that Tuesday is the worst day. We think that this is enough evidence to exonerate Monday from the bum rap it has experienced for so long now. The data also showed that although 18% of Mood 24/7 members TGIF, an astounding 25% rate Sunday as their best day of the week.

After uncovering these truths, we’re left asking “what does it mean” as if we just saw a double rainbow. That’s where you come in…

First, do you agree with our findings. Is Tuesday the worst day of the week and is Sunday, in fact, the best day? Also, what do you think your best and worst days of the week are? Let us know in the comments below, and if you really want to know for yourself you can sign up to Mood 24/7 and start rating your mood daily by texting it with your cell phone. It’s absolutely free, although standard text message rates apply.

About Mood 24/7

Mood 24/7 was developed by HealthCentral based on technology licensed exclusively from Johns Hopkins University to help you track your daily mood. Pick a time of day to receive a daily text message, rate your mood each day when the text comes and share your results with people you trust.

What Native Americans Taught Me About Health

By | SoHealth

Native Aspirations Community Meeting LogoLast week I had the privilege of speaking at the Annual Native Aspirations Community Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. I was there to talk about Mood 24/7, as well as relay the success story that is unfolding with our very simple service, in rural Kansas. The pitch was well received by more than a few communities, and I’m looking forward to the difference Mood 24/7 can make within Native American middle and high school populations in the coming months.

I’m reminded regularly that what makes Mood 24/7 special is the fact that it works on every phone. Even in extremely rural areas of America, with low cellular coverage, people have cell phones and those people use their cell phones to communicate via text message. The idea of middle and high school students being able to text in their mood on a daily basis and share their mood charts with a counselor or loved one is exciting to me.

But I have to say that I left majestic Alaska with a lot more than just a few business cards…

The trip home allowed me to reflect on what I had just been a part of… I was accepted into a conference solely focused on two big problems with youth in America, let alone youth in Native America: bullying and suicide. And despite the differences among me and the group, as well as the differences of the 40+ unique tribal communities represented within the Anchorage Hilton’s Conference Room, we came together to focus on something that really matters: helping youth navigate adolescence, to grow into happy and healthy adults.

We celebrated our differences, we discovered our similarities and we focused on the task at hand.


Dr. Iris Prettypaint, Native Aspirations Project Director and representative of the Blackfeet and Crow Nations, reminded me to take the time to reflect on the things that I see and hear. She asked me on more than one occasion what I liked and what I had learned about particular talks, which I really appreciated. I was moved by the overall experience, but one thing that was discussed really resonated with me.

Carmen Thomas, of the Northern Arapaho Wind River Tribes of Wyoming, talked on a panel about the leaders in the room being the right people to solve the problems that their communities face. Her words reminded me of words that I strive to live by when I feel like I don’t have the right knowledge, or the right resources, or the right [insert noun here] to be effective. Those words are:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Teddy Roosevelt

We’re all trying to make a difference in the world, and it’s important to remember that although we’re a community, we don’t have to wait for somebody else to help us in order to make that difference. Our effort is enough, as long as we bring it day in and day out.

The Little Dialers Story

By | Social and Media

The Hall family made an iPhone app for our kids called Little Dialers, that you and your kids can use too, for free. Here’s the behind the scenes backstory, in case you were curious. As a prologue, it turns out that there really aren’t any good Smartphone apps out there to teach kids how to get a hold of you in case you’re ever separated. And when I say there aren’t any good apps, I mean that when I did a Google search two months ago, there weren’t any apps popping up in the top ten results at all…

Is this not 2011?

Little Dialers Trophy ScreenThe Backstory

So our four year old daughter is in pre-school and comes home one day with a paper cut out of a rotary phone. That’s how she’s supposed to learn her phone number. First off, it’s a rotary phone… No kidding. I’m 33 and I barely know what a rotary phone is or looks like. Second, it’s made out of paper. And third, it’s only seven numbers. Now this last one may not be a big deal for some people, but my wife and I picked up cell phones back in 2001, when we lived in Montgomery, AL. I was in the Air Force, and we’ve moved around some since that time, but we’ve always kept the same number out of convenience. We are now living in a suburb of Louisville, KY and really only ever use our cell phones. Plus, they’re always with us at all times, which is key when someone is trying to get a hold of either of us, like say our kids in an emergency.

My wife and I didn’t feel that our daughter should be forced to learn a useless number from a piece of construction paper in the shape of an extinct artifact that she may never even see over her lifetime.

How We Came To Build An App

I honestly didn’t think much of the paper phone, other than there was no way I was going to be able to teach anybody their phone number with it. Then one cold, January morning, my wife mentioned that we really needed to start teaching our daughter a phone number that she could call in case there was ever a reason for her to need to call. I did a search online and, as mentioned above, didn’t find anything.

Being that I have a decade of experience in software, web and now mobile development, I thought it would be a cool family project to design and build our own app that would just do one thing: teach our kids their mom and dad’s phone number through visual, auditory and tactile stimulation.

Thus, the idea of Little Dialers emerged.

I was able to convince a buddy that it would be a fun little diversion for him, to take on building this app for us on the side, and we estimated a timeline and a budget. Then I set out to design it myself. If you’re thinking about doing something like this yourself, I encourage it, but remember that complexity equals time and time equals money. The hardest part of building an app, even one with only three screens, is keeping it dead simple. That’s because the sky is literally the limit when it comes to whiz-bang features that can be added. So take these quotes to heart, and take the time to make things simple.

Once I finished designing the screens and functionality, we looked at it as a family, made some tweaks, and sent the requirements document and creative off to my developer friend. When it was all said and done, it took 17 hours to build, test and fix over the course of three weekends. Seven days after we submitted Little Dialers to Apple, our App had been approved and was downloadable from within the App Store.

And here we are today.

What We Want Out Of This

My wife and I did this primarily for the journey. It was definitely a fun ride coming up with the idea and building something to fill a need together as a family. Our kids are huge iPhone/iPad fans, and I’d be lying if I didn’t also mention that it’s an ego boost to have your kid use and enjoy something you built for them, on a platform that has completely captured their engagement. Our daughter has been using Little Dialers all week, five minutes at a time, and is now able to type in my wife’s cell phone number without help, which is exactly what we wanted…

The truth is though, building the product is only the beginning of the journey. We’ve seen Little Dialers work and think it can work for your child, too. It would be great if people used our app and shared their story with us. Maybe it helped your child or maybe it didn’t. Now that Little Dialers is out there, we’re interested in learning what you think about it, either way. You can let us know what you think by downloading the app, rating it, or leaving a comment here or on the tumblr account I set up to support the app. I’ll also be linking to anything written about the app there, to keep a record of the journey.

We hope you like Little Dialers, as much as we liked making it. Here’s to all of our kids, and the awesome, digital world they are growing up in today.

Five Things at SXSW 11

By | SoHealth

SXSW LogoI want to add my South by Southwest (SXSW) recap to the countless blog posts already out there with five things that captured my imagination at this year’s conference. Needless to say, these are things that I’m already very interested in, so we sort of found each other this year. In no particular order:

data Our nation’s very own Department of Health and Human Services Chief Technical Officer, Todd Park, rocked everybody’s world on Sunday by hipping us all to the fact that just under a jillion Government data sets are accessible to developers through the website:  http://www.data.gov/health. What I loved about Todd’s panel the most was his energy. Very inspiring. He really drove the point home that all of this data being unlocked has already been paid for by the taxpayer, is already available to the taxpayer, and is now actually accessible to everyone to use in their innovations. Score.

search One group that I was really interested to talk with was the crew at Blekko… mainly due to Marshall Kirkpatrick’s review of the service. I wasn’t disappointed. The idea is that anybody can create and curate their own search engine of sites that they trust around a given topic. The mechanism for doing so is called a “slashtag,” which looks like this: /mentalhealth. So let’s say that you knew what the 50-100 best sites were on a given health topic. You could easily create and curate a slashtag around that topic so that people could search for answers to their questions among ONLY those sites. In my case, it would be helpful to amass the top psychiatrist blogs, and perform a search against them around technology, in order to find out who I should know. If I created a Blekko slashtag called: /psychbloggers, then what I’d type in the search box would be: technology /psychbloggers and I’d ONLY see results from the sites in the slashtag. I happened to run into Ed Bennett in between sessions and chatted about the idea with him. It turns out that he is already all over it, and is advising Blekko on the topic with regards to health. So good times, there. 

visualization A colleague told me about Tableau Public prior to SXSW, so I was pumped to meet a member of the team on the showroom floor. Tableau Public allows anybody to create rich visualizations from data sets and share them publicly. This could have big implications for health, with all the data that is already available and as an increasing number of data becomes available. On another note, I was also pleasantly surprised to rediscover mapquest, of all services. They have a clean new look and have reinvented themselves in a way that I think could work. I really like the approach their taking to crowd source mapping, and am excited to tool around with the service.  

people This was my second consecutive SXSW and I learned last year, that the best reason to come is to meet and rub elbows with people in the trenches, like me. I racked up a stack of business cards and hope to engage with everyone I met in a meaningful way over the coming months. It was also great to catch up with Twitter friends in real life. Hanging with the people who roll out to SXSW is definitely worth the price of admission in and of itself.

@mindofandre, @hallicious, @danamlewis at PF Changs

@mindofandre, @hallicious, @danamlewis


sustenance Being that this year’s interactive conference had 20,000 attendees and was spread out throughout the city of Austin – two mile walks aplenty… I also discovered that one can live off of street pizza and Gatorade alone for up to 72 hours, in case of emergency. Although I wouldn’t recommend it, I found that it is possible to utilize this combo in order to keep pace with the lightning speed required to keep up with everything going on over a three day span.

That’s my take. See you there next year.

Health Happens Here

By | SoHealth

Mental Health Trailer in Sedan, KS

I’m headed to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest today, to listen to people talk about great new ideas on designing the world we want to live in and to overuse the word awesome with old friends, internet friends and new friends too… but this post isn’t about all that.

This post is about the trailer in the picture above, that was taken from my iPhone in Sedan, Kansas – Population: 1,155. That’s the trailer that people in and around Sedan walk to regularly for mental health services. It’s also the trailer that the team from the Four County Mental Health Center, in Coffeyville, Kansas, drives 50 miles to in order to provide mental health services to part of rural America’s under-served population.

I hung out in Coffeyville and its surrounding towns, with Dr. April Foreman, Karen Bone, ARNP and Tony Wood, because they’ve started using the system I’m leading the development of, Mood 24/7, at Four County and it has started to make a difference. It turns out that even people in America who cannot afford basic transportation, can and do have cell phones that text. So far, these people  have been receptive to a service that empowers them to track their moods on a daily basis. And the professionals at Four County, through the prodding of Dr. Foreman, have also come to learn of the benefit that client participation has to offer throughout the treatment process.

More to come on that front.

A Tale of Two Worlds

BlockBuster Video "Follow Us On Twitter" SignWhat I found most interesting about my trip to Coffeyville was the dichotomy of our worlds, and my own naiveté of said dichotomy. I had all but patted myself on the back for figuring out that a $299, 3G enabled tablet and a $20 per month data plan could cause an affordable revolution in the way that care was provided in this part of the country. The one thing that I had taken for granted was connectivity. There are no “data plans” in Sedan, Kansas and the other remote locations that Four County serves, because there is barely even any cell phone coverage at all in these places. This is simple economics, and it escaped me because I live in a bubble: If there aren’t enough people to pay for data plans, then the infrastructure to provide data plans doesn’t get built.

Technology has definitely hit this part of the country, as I couldn’t resist taking the picture of a Blockbuster Video sign in Independence, Kansas. It just doesn’t cover everyone… and it’s these pockets of unconnected people that end up needing help and costing the system the most time and money to provide care, in an era when mental health budgets are being cut by most states.

I think that technology can help mental health professionals provide better care while spending less, to keep up with their shrinking budgets, especially as mobile technology continues to become cheaper. However, the new question in my mind is: How do we connect the unconnected in a cost effective way?

What Can The Travel Industry Teach The Health Industry About Data?

By | SoHealth

Last week I became curious about how sites like Travelocity and Orbitz get their information. When I think about all of the different flights, times, locations and prices that I can access in real time with a few clicks of a mouse, it makes me wonder why something equivalent doesn’t exist between Doctors and Insurance companies. You know, like when you need to be referred and nobody can instantly tell you who you can be referred to based on your insurance…

That problem seems like it should be easily fixable, with a large database, like the one the travel industry has created for itself. Here is how it works for the airlines, via FareCompare:

How Travel Data Flows

The relationship between the individual airlines and the ATPCO database is the one that I’m most interested in, as that seems to be how the entire system is able to work in real time. The big difference being that airlines are incentivized to push their data into the system so that end users can purchase tickets. They may also be getting money from the ATPCO for the data, as well. The point is, airlines make money by being part of this system…

So could insurance companies make or save money by establishing a system like this for their provider networks?

Thinking about all of the hands that an out of network bill must touch, the anxiety these types of bills place on their members, and the effort involved in resolving disputes might be an incentive for health insurance companies to be a part of a system like this one. However, I don’t think that would be enough to actually build it. I’ve identified one problem that this type of system could solve, but perhaps there are more. Problems that third parties could build businesses around to supplement its development…

Any other ways that insurance/provider data could be used to make or save money?

Open mHealth

By | SoHealth

Dr. Deborah Estrin is the Jon Postal Chair in Computer Networks at UCLA, and is leading the Open mHealth Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) Project. I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Estrin this morning, and it was great to talk with somebody who is passionate about the “plumbing” that is necessary for all of the data that mHealth services are able to collect. The plumbing isn’t very sexy to talk about, but it’s an extremely important aspect of mHealth utility and innovation. This diagram does a great job of showing the benefits of an open mhealth architecture:

Open mHealth Architecture - Diagram by Dr. Deborah Estrin and Dr. Ida Sim
Diagram by Dr. Estrin & Dr. Sim

Open mHealth is Open Data

I share the belief that health data is owned by the patient and should be portable. As a health consumer, I should be able to mix and match the health applications that are important to me AND view all of my data wherever I want to view it. This means that new value propositions and business models will need to be explored around the movement of data as opposed to the ownership of data by third party services. It’s very exciting to talk with others pushing in the same direction.

To get you as excited about this idea as I am, I will leave you with an excerpt from a paper Dr. Estrin co-authored with Dr. Ida Sim called, Open mHealth Architecture: An Engine for Health Care Innovation. Please feel free to reach out to me if mHealth plumbing fires you up:

By opening mHealth architecture, and thus lowering the barriers to entry, a broad community of patients, clinicians, family, and others could be involved in collaborative, participatory design of mHealth apps, providing new tools for extending care into the daily lives of families and communities.