10 Mobile Health Hacks


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Presentation as part of panel at Stanford's Mobile Health 2011 titled, "What Really Works in Hacking Mobile Health" with Roni Zeiger, Google, Steven Dean from G51 Studio, Brian Krejcarek from GreenGoose, and Aza Raskin from Massive Health.

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  • As a designer and design researcher working in health and wellness, I get a chance to observe all kinds of people doing all sorts of things, in their own unique ways -- workarounds, hacks, shortcuts -- to meet their everyday health needs and desires. I'm going to show you 10 examples where people use built-in features of cellphones and mobile devices combined with the daily flow of rhythm of life to address all sorts of health needs. I will also have a little help from my PLAYMOBIL friends. Parsons. Service Design. Let's get started.\n
  • 1. The first one involves people using alarms and notifications to help remember to do all sorts of things.\n\n
  • In this example Jessica sets the alarm on her mom's cell phone to go off the same time everyday reminding her aging mother to take her medication. Lots of people do this very simple hack.\n\n
  • 2. The next hack involves using their mobile to assist them in some way. \n\n
  • In this example, Amber, has a tough time going to sleep so she downloaded an MP3 file of white noise that she plays on her phone when she needs that extra sleep aid as she slips in bed.\n\n
  • 3. In our next hack I discovered an interesting technique to motivate and remind people what they can do. \n\n
  • I met a personal trainer who takes his clients iphone which is equipped with a video camera and records her doing her first pushup or anytime she does something she's never done before. It has a powerful effect on their clients and is something Fred Muench helped me label as "self-modeling to activate self-efficacy."\n\n
  • 4. The next hack involves an interruption in someone's daily routine or habit\n\n
  • I talked to several nutritionist and their clients and this is John who makes a commitment to text his nutritionist on his way home from work that he will "resist the pint of Haagen dasz ice cream" -- John admits it helps him most days by interrupting his habit of buying ice cream most days.\n\n
  • 5. The next hack is so simple but I wanted to include it because I think it points the way to how we might improve designing mobile health solutions.\n\n
  • Paige is a 2nd grader and has had type 1 diabetes for less than a year. Not yet on an insulin pump. Everyday at lunch time at Paige's school, her mom stops by to help Paige test her blood sugar, then Paige eats her lunch. After that, her mom then pulls out her mobile phone to make a calculation that takes into account Paige's blood sugar, how many carbs she ate at lunch and her current carb:insulin ratio (the formula is scribbled on a small piece of paper she keeps with her), and then she pulls off to determine how many units of regular insulin Paige will get. \n\n
  • 6. Lots of people use their cameras and voice recorders to capture and document evolution of things.\n
  • I’ve talked to doctors and patients where the simple use of their phone's built-in camera has made it really easy to document the progression of something, in this example Joan was keeping a visual diary of a rash that was developing on her arm and then sharing that with her doctor.\n\n
  • 7. Using texting as a simple self-tracking tool.\n
  • 7. I met a mother who tapped into her young daughter's texting habits to add in her blood sugar readings throughout the day. The mom has an iphone which makes it super easy to review the days readings and those from the past. Not all cell phone text displays are as useful as this.\n\n
  • 8. Reviewing images and videos on your phone at just the right time.\n
  • I've also met a number of people who load a video clip onto their phones of someone who they really admire and are inspired by to motivate them as the do their workouts. I met several people who bookmark short YouTube video clips of Olympic swimmers that they watch just before they jump into the pool.\n\n
  • 9. This is a favorite of mine. Very DIY.\n
  • I run the Quantified Self group in New York and a whole bunch of people build their own customized self-tracking tool with a pretty simple hack by creating a simple Google docs form. Then opening it in a browser on their iphone and then adding that URL to their home screen. It is then a super simple one-click to launch. This is how I do my own self-tracking.\n\n
  • 10. Here’s a hack where I mash-up a couple of apps to earn a cool pair of pants.\n
  • I check-in to my gym, Velocity Sports in midtown Manhattan, using Foursquare. Then Foursquare sends that activity to a cool little website called Earndit where I get fitness activity points every time I check into a gym or pool (more points if I'm mayor) and then I redeem those points to buy these really cool pants from Bonobo's\n\n
  • That was a 10 but I’ve got a bonus one for all of you. \n
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  • 10 Mobile Health Hacks

    1. 1. 1 Mobile Health Hacks Steven Dean
    2. 2. 1. remind me
    3. 3. 2. assist me
    4. 4. 3. motivate me
    5. 5. Self-modeling activates self-efficacy
    6. 6. 4. interrupt me
    7. 7. John commits not to buy ice cream
    8. 8. 5. tell me
    9. 9. Paige and mom calculate insulin units
    10. 10. 6. capture me
    11. 11. Joan records her rash before seeing doc
    12. 12. 7. record and report me
    13. 13. Gina texts her mom her blood sugar
    14. 14. 8. motivate me
    15. 15. Olympic swimmer motivates Paul
    16. 16. 9. track me
    17. 17. DIY tracking using Google docs
    18. 18. 10 . reward me
    19. 19. Foursquare check-in, earndit rewards
    20. 20. bonus m bile hack
    21. 21. How close to a train track can you setup a vegetable market?
    22. 22. How close to a train track can you setup a vegetable market?
    23. 23. How close to a train track can you setup a vegetable market? Thank you.
    24. 24. How close to a train track can you setup a vegetable market? Thank you. Steven Dean 917 538-5194 sgdean@g51studio.com @sgdean (Twitter)
    25. 25. How close to a train track can you setup a vegetable market? Thank you. Steven Dean 917 538-5194 sgdean@g51studio.com @sgdean (Twitter)