Bookmark and Share

Jan 28


Back in May 2010,, in partnership with Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, launched TuAnalyze, an application to allow members of TuDiabetes (and EsTuDiabetes) to track, share and compare their health information for research advancing diabetes care and public health response.

Just this week, they posted an update on the program’s progress.  In just a few short months, they have people participating from 43 countries!  Read the blog post here for details and to watch a 3 minute video about what our friends a TuDiabetes and their partners have learned so far.

Jan 03

New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing. It seems so exciting to make one, but so not fun to actually follow through on it. Most resolutions are so well intentioned - things we know we should be doing, things that are good for us - like losing weight, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, or helping others.

You’d think it’d be getting easier to follow through on our grand plans.  We have iPhones and Droids and hundreds of apps to help us. Here are 12 that Mashable highlights as apps to jumpstart our resolutions - be it anything from improving our health to our social lives. In my experience, these tools do work…but only if we let them.

About a summer ago, I used the free version of the Lose it! app. It’s pretty cool - you input your weight, how much you want to lose and how fast, and it calculates the number of calories you can eat in a day in order to achieve your goal. Then you can use the tool to track your calories against the total number. It has an extensive list of foods with calorie counts already included. It also allows you to pick exercises off a list with estimates for calories burned by minute. When you input exercise, it subtracts the calories from your total for the day and lets you know how many you have left. If you don’t find the food or the exercise you’re looking for, you can input it yourself.

It makes it easy to see just how many of your daily allowable calories you’re giving up when you reach for that cookie. And that knowledge did deter me from making some bad choices, at least for awhile.

After a few weeks I didn’t care anymore about what the phone thought, and I ate the cookie guilt-free. In the battle of cookies vs. iPhone diet plan, cookies won. I guess knowledge only goes so far, and tools can only help so much.

So for this year, rather than resolving to do something that goes against my nature, I’m resolving to work on that inner “e” that helps determine my nature. No matter how much “e” we have to start, becoming more empowered, more educated, more engaged, expert, electronic, enabled, etc. can help us to make better decisions, and manage our own health.  Maybe by the end of this year, I’ll be able to beat that cookie.

Here’s hoping for a healthy and empowered year for us all.

Mar 10

Thomas Goetz: Decision Tree: Smarter Patients, Better Choice
Uploaded by kruresearch. - Videos of the latest science discoveries and tech.

The Decision Tree, Thomas Goetz (19 minutes)

Wired magazine editor, Thomas Goetz, shows us how we can take care of our health in the age of personalized medicine.

  • Mindfulness is the most important health decision we can make
  • How personal health trackers can help us to pay attention to our health
  • How decision trees will lead to better outcomes

for Pharma & Health Communications

Each one-day boot camp is led by Kevin Kruse and is limited to only 15 participants to maximize individual attention. Sign-up now to get a 50% early bird discount.

  • Social Media for Pharma - 2 SEATS LEFT (March 31, 2010)
  • Ask about in-house workshops for e-patient strategy, social media compliance and metrics

e-Patient Connections 2010

Dec 06

food-log3You’ve overslept by fifteen minutes, and you have a killer headache. A couple of Aspirins take care of that. Grapefruit and yogurt for breakfast, a 20 minute jog, and then off to work. You’ve just gotten a promotion and a new office with a gorgeous view, so you’re feeling pretty good about your career. At the end of the day you catch an hour of T.V., hop on the bathroom scale, and hit the hay.

This is the raw data of your life, the cold hard facts of diet, exercise, and attitude that determine your wellbeing, and TheCarrot is dedicated to measuring it. TheCarrot is an online and mobile collection of trackers that collect and calculate data pertaining to a wide range of health concerns. If you’re looking to lose a little weight, plug in what you eat at each meal or log your workout routine. Feeling stressed? You can log and rate your general mood, your quality of sleep, even your job satisfaction. For users with more specialized concerns, there are specific trackers for diabetes, menopause, hypertension, and a sort of WebMD-lite which tracks various individual symptoms.

What distinguishes TheCarrot from similar sites is the focus on mobility and, perhaps more importantly, on a full integration of all the above-mentioned aspects into a gestalt look at wellbeing. The platform’s Iphone app allows users to log in their meals and activities as they happen, even inviting users to upload snapshots of their food into a database. While a seemingly small point to tout, entering the contents of a meal is much easier and salient on the subway ride home than it is hours later, racking your brains for if you had the risotto or the orzo.

The platform’s integration of every tracker into your daily report is similarly based on small, intuitive touches. How many times have you patted yourself on the back for jogging two miles, and rewarded yourself with an ice-cream sundae, or offset a diet with an afternoon sitting around on the couch? TheCarrot, by collecting up all of your lifestyle trackers into one collated chart, stresses the importance of all-around health and wellness.


As Douglas Trauner, CEO of TheCarrot’s parent company, Healthcare Analytic Services, puts it, “until now there wasn’t a mobile, one-stop option for all areas of [health] interest.” This all-in-one, integrated method is what really sets TheCarrot apart.

picture-38However, this emphasis on breadth of content may come at the expense of depth in any one area. While the nutrition tracker is admirably well fleshed-out, with a nice range of customization regarding what information shows up on your reports (ranging from a simple calorie count to detailed data on sodium, protein, and more) and a stocked pantry of over 20,000 pre-selectable food entries, other trackers are less comprehensive. It’s great to be able to hold your exercise regimen up side-by-side to your daily diet, but without even giving a broad estimate of the amount of calories burnt by each activity at various durations, the actual functionality is sadly limited.

Other areas of the platform are similarly bare-bones, sometimes in surprisingly fundamental ways. Some, such as Energy Level, Sex, and Job Satisfaction, are merely sliding scales ranging from Low Satisfaction/Energy/Libido to high-a totally subjective criteria that fails to offer much meaningful data. Sleep is structured similarly, with an entirely separate tracker set up for wake-up time. The result is a jumble of trackers ranging from comprehensive and useful, to somewhat confusing, to the useless and/or redundant.

The site and its Iphone companion have undergone a general upgrade since August of 2009, adding numerous features and trackers to its original configuration. While the platform as it is today is far from perfect, TheCarrot’s ambitious scope and convenient, mobile-friendly approach make it a fascinating experiment and a worthy (if flawed) eFitness contender.

Dec 02

The analysts at Gartner gazed into their crystal ball and list the Top 10 Consumer Mobile Apps for 2012. Coming in at number 5 is “Mobile Health Monitoring.” I think their use of “monitoring” as a qualifier is a bit narrow:

Mobile health monitoring is the use of IT and mobile telecommunications to monitor patients remotely, and could help governments, care delivery organizations (CDOs) and healthcare payers reduce costs related to chronic diseases and improve the quality of life of their patients.

Yes, health monitoring will be huge. But what about health search? Health education? Personal data trackers that don’t ping your physician or family unless you want them to? Apps for health and fitness? All of these mobile health apps will certainly be as big or bigger than the “monitoring” category itself.

Nike Plus is frequently mentioned as a model for the new hybrid of personal tracking device, data, and community. What other mobile health apps do you think show us a glimpse of the future?