Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I just finished working on my presentation 'Mobile Apps for Patients' that I will give in Paris in May at Doctors 2.0 and You. Thanks to a joint partnership between Doctors 2.0 & You and Stanford Medicine X, participants who enroll in both conferences will save a total of $500 off the combined entry fees.

Both events are unique in their stance to make sure that patient speakers and patient advocates are able to participate and attend. In my opinion, this is truly in keeping with my personal mission to not only spread new ideas but to extend the potential reach of mobile health to the patients that it serves. For any conference organizers that agree about the importance of patient advocacy and the patient voice, the patients-included logo can be found here for placement on the event website. Furthermore, patient speakers willing to eloquently share their stories and bring healthcare issues to life can be found on http://speakerlink.org/. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mobile Health Infographic

I recently saw this great infographic in a Mashable article about the growing enthusiasm that physicians feel for the potential of mobile health. According to data by Float Learning consulting firm, 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients. About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process.

Seems that first patients embraced mobile health, now physicians are embracing it...next payers? The real explosion will happen upon this embrace, and mobile health entrepreneurs like myself and Duet Health by Eproximiti are definitely ready and waiting for it. The future looks bright! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Whole Food and Technology

What is the heart and soul of good health? It's actually not technology, it's local whole foods. As an endocrinologist, nutrition researcher and a local foods advocate and volunteer at Local Matters (nonprofit in Ohio), I know this is true. I am very excited about the new upcoming awesome PBS series 'Food Forward' which features the important work done by whole food heroes. Here is a trailer for the series:

Perhaps whole food and mobile technology may be next step for good health...definitely a dream for me as a part of the EndoGoddess future. Monetizing a mobile strategy that is a part of the local whole foods ecosystem is unclear to me, however, at this time. Sadly, this prevents me from working on this project at the present time. I would certainly welcome any thoughts or ideas from readers on how to monetize whole food and mobile technology.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sanofi 2012 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge

I am super excited to enter an EndoGoddess App idea (in partnership with Duet Health mobile software startup) into the Sanofi 2012 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge summarized in this short video:

The Innovation Challenge is run by Sanofi US and aligned with the United States government federal initiative to use an open dialogue to drive action toward a three-part aim: innovation in the quality, delivery and cost of diabetes care. The kickoff earlier this year crowd-sourced answers to the question, "What matters most to you?" as it relates to diabetes in order to focus the design winners on products that matter most to patients. All intellectual property and equity remains the property of its creators as Sanofi US seeks only to guide the mentorship and development process. The prizes include:

  • Access to entrepreneurial resources, through a partnership with Startup America.

  • A Design & Prototyping Bootcamp to orient the semi-finalists to human-centered design and user experience, develop the understanding of diabetes and teach rapid prototyping methodologies.

  • Total monetary awards of more than $200,000 by Sanofi US, along with invaluable mentorship and ongoing support.

Last year's challenge winner, Ginger.io, created an app platform for patients to journal their diabetes data that then alerts caregivers to concerning behavioral changes. Following the Innovation Challenge, Ginger.io raised $1.7 million  in seed funding and expanded its company with recent addition of Rock Health Accelerator mobile startup, Pipette. Pipette creates mobile software that can detect data patterns or outlier concerns in patient-reported outcomes.

The semi-finalists will be announced March 30th so keeping my fingers crossed. Who knows, dreams can come true right? However, even if it's not my project that is selected, I am excited about the wins for diabetes. :)

(Disclaimer: Sanofi US makes a few common diabetes products: Lantus insulin and Apidra insulin. They will also be releasing the iBGstar glucose meter in the coming months. I do not have any stock or kick-backs from Sanofi US but am working with the creator of the iBGstar meter, AgaMatrix, to develop EndoGoddess app connectivity amongst all of their meters. Again, no stock or kick-backs from AgaMatrix either. Just working towards a future in mobile health of connectivity between all apps and all meters which takes one step at a time.)

Friday, March 16, 2012


I look forward to the day that seeing these records in a physician's office without electronic or mobile access will feel as ancient as looking at this large motorola mobile phone that was my family's first growing up.

I look forward to the day that seeing this type of computer printer paper in a physician's office will be as unfamiliar as these paper notes are to today's texting savvy teens.

I look forward to the day that healthcare apps are used as common as a prescription pad, and are no longer a novel concept.

Progress is hard in our slow-to-change current medical system. However, I will always remember to never give up as demonstrated in this precious picture circulating recently on Pinterest. Proper perspective makes impossible tasks become possible. This is my perspective as I begin to research the FDA process for approval of integration of an accessory app (EndoGoddess App) with medical devices (glucometers)...the first step in what is likely to be a year long journey, day #1 today!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My South By Southwest (SXSW) Recap

Representing mobile software startup Duet Health and the EndoGoddess App, I just returned from the South By Southwest Interactive Festival (the superbowl for technology breakthroughs), which continues to be an epic meeting for learning new approaches to solving problems. I will share a few of my favorite mobile-related technologies that were discussed at South By and how they might offer solutions for healthcare problems.

Digital shadow is the name given to the data concerning what an individual shows an interest in online which is then accumulated for various purposes, usually marketing and advertising. At South By, the digital shadow concept for health and behavior change was discussed by entrepreneur and technology visionary David Rose who has already designed such products as the ambient fridge pictured above to tell you about the weather in a utilitarian fashion. David has also already designed ground-breaking products for medication adherence such as Glowcaps which combines medication packaging with digital reminder and motivation concepts. He is now moving to the integration within furniture/appliances so as to collect valid information about our digital shadows for health. For instance, perhaps a refrigerator could not only display data about the weather but also collect food intake data and related digital shadows. In order to better integrate the objects into our lives for easier data shadowing, he is asking questions about the objects such as 'what are you about- holding food or creating food'? Huge implications are possible for health and wellness if personal food behavior can be better understood and then influenced to create 'positive addictions' as was the name of the South By session.

Although he believes less in mobile and more in utilitarian objects such as the amber vials that inspired Glowcaps (pictured above), David Rose has found great success in using an approach to behavior change that integrates technology into utilitarian objects. I actually feel that mobile has its greatest power because it IS a utilitarian object and a constant part of our current lives, almost like an additional appendage for teenagers...have you ever seen a teenager without their phone? Furthermore, the phone is about to take a huge jump in utilitarianism within our lives as mobile payments become a reality as is discussed below.

The session on interchange zero and mobile payments struck me greatly at this year's South By Southwest Festival. The concept was discussed by Seth Priebatsch (pictured above), proud Princeton dropout and CEO of SCVGR, a mobile start-up trying to build the game layer on top of the world, as well as LevelUp, a mobile payments platform. Our phone will soon replace our wallet. The power behind mobile payments is its ability to reduce the friction in the payment system from 20% to 0% (interchange zero). In other words, currently, for every $1 currently spent, 20 cents is required to transfer the money from our check cards/credit cards to the merchants (unless they take cash only). The real power in mobile payments is how this will help to create an economic ecosystem that contributes to sustained reduced costs...imagine the implications for healthcare!

StartUp Health and Health 2.0 are trying to reduce the friction in the heatlh entrepreneurship process, too. At South By, StartUp Health celebrated a new class of  'entrepreneural students' or transformers as they call them that will be part of a ground-breaking structured mentoring program specific to the health space: putting money and resources behind the words 'we support you in this industry'. Gatherings like their party at South By provide a wonderful place where entrepreneurs like myself together with Duet Health have the opportunity to discuss our app integration ideas with device entrepreneurs such as AgaMatrix' mobile director Yishai Knobel (pictured with me above). Watch for exciting developments on this front, and follow me on this blog as I adventure through the FDA regulatory process for EndoGoddess app integration with glucometers over the coming months as I'm sure it will be a learning experience for us all! Yishai spoke eloquently with Health 2.0 about his prediction for seamless integration and partnerships as a trend over the next 2 years:


If I didn't know who the CEO of Pinterest (Ben Silbermann) was, I would have actually thought that he was a behavioralist after listening to him opine and speak about Pinterest at South By Southwest. Pinterest is a popular startup that has exploded over the past 6 months (infographic). The site is used for showcasing collections such as books, stamps, recipes, clothes which are an expression of self explained during a session as follows:

Sharing your 'collections' on Pinterest provides a platform for self-awareness, expression, dreaming, and perhaps behavior change to be the person you want to be (ie, this is 'what I'm about').  However, he clearly pointed out that hobbies and interests exist independent of Pinterest and always will. Pinterest is just a vehicle for making connections with other similar collectors and increasing your own collections and dreams. He believes that this focus on users' intrinsic interests is key to the offline behavior change he has been informed of such as cooking new recipes and new fitness exercises that inspired users on Pinterest. An unknown realm is how to help users to discover interests that they never knew they had and is one of  the Pinterest CEO's interests to tackle in the future.

Pinterest's CEO is currently fascinated by devices such as the fitbit, a wireless activity and sleep tracking device (pictured above), and how a social site can combine with such devices to help users find new interests they didn't know that they had (ie, hidden intrinsic interests). Perhaps 'collections' of sensors such as the fitbit on Pinterest may be the next big thing in health and behavior change? I am a HUGE fan and user of Pinterest and look forward to exploring connections like this further as well for health and behavior change, particularly as related to obesity and diabetes (I'm an endocrinologist after all).

In conclusion, partnerships, integrated devices, apps, Pinterest, and mobile payments are the South By Southwest technology trends that I feel are most likely to influence healthcare problems today. Overall, apps are still hot as they were almost always discussed as part of the integration strategies for all the technologies...a bit like the glue that holds everything together. Also a trend, the subtle fashion subtext throughout this South By post: blue for diabetes awareness! :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

South By Southwest (SXSW): Technology, Creativity, Unicorns and Health

I am super excited to be representing Duet Health and heading to Austin soon for the interactive/technology portion of South By Southwest (SXSW) starting March 9th, 2012. This year is the second year for inclusion of health technology sessions and the second year that I am attending. Last year, I had the honor of participating in a SXSW health technology session.  SXSW showcases the best of the best in creative technology that has already inflitrated our lives with just a few examples that had their 'coming out' showcase at SXSW as follows: twitter, four-square, siri.

I am aiming to not only spread the word about mobile health in diabetes care with apps such as the EndoGoddess app, but I am also aiming to stretch the boundaries of what is possible by tickling my technical creativity while listening to non-health related sessions.

An awesome example of grassroots crowdsourced creativity in health is the recent creation of the unicorn as the mascot for the diabetes online community. People with diabetes have been having a lot of fun sharing their unicorn stories. Such sharing creates a vital online community and has an important role in keeping the diabetes online community (one of the largest online health communities) relevant to its members. A creative member of the diabetes online community, Kim Vlasnik, explains:

It should be noted that one of the main crowdsourcing tools used by the diabetes online community to create this unicorn mascot was provided by a SXSW creative technology, twitter. Perhaps the next creative technologies will allow us to actually PRODUCE the unicorn! Well, I'll certainly keep my mind open to the possibilities while attending sessions at SXSW. :)