Humanizing Mobile Health Applications

Mobile health applications are typically prescriptive and boring. Part of the problem is that they focus on goals that lack true meaning to the user. For example, an application for a patient with heart failure may focus on achieving goal medication adherence, weight, heart rate, blood oxygenation, and creatinine (measure of kidney function) while the user’s real goal is to be able to play with her grandchildren for 5 minutes without becoming short of breath. The former have been referred to by psychologist David Waters as “health goals” while the latter is a “life goal.”

This project will involve:

  1. Creating a mapping between life goals and health goals for a specific mobile application. It will be advantageous to focus on a mobile application that is already being developed by one of the teams during Health and Wellness Innovation 2012.
  2. Creating tools/visualizations to track life goals as well as health goals in order to educate the user about the importance of the health goals in the context of his or her disease.
  3. Creating a new type of social messaging/support system. Family members, friends, peers, etc. should be able to send users engaging messages of encouragement that can only be unlocked by making progress toward life goals. This game-like mechanism will encourage progress but will be much more personal than a typical mobile game.

Because this project will rely on Android phones/tablets and the CollaboRhythm platform, skills in Adobe Flex/Flash development will be desirable. In addition, since this project will involve the creation of digital media for social messaging, sills with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be desirable.

Representatives from Philips and Hallmark will be contributing to this project.