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Dirk Knemeyer has a few questions about Apple's ideas for a mobile medical solution.

This coming June, Apple is expected to announce their “Healthbook” app. In a bold expansion on the concepts of Involution’s hGraph app, Apple is attempting not only to federate all of a user’s important, top-level health and wellness data but also to synchronize with hardware devices that do everything from analyze blood to count steps to monitor heart rate.

Healthbook mockup

Mockup of Healthbook screen published to Behance this past February.

hGraph, your health in one picture

hGraph, the only open source visualization for your complete health, developed by Involution Studios.

There is an enormous need for this kind of software. Right now hundreds of companies are shipping devices that collect or track health and wellness information, but locking that data into proprietary interfaces that they are trying to monetize in order to sustain a business. This bottom-up approach worked in validating the market, but it is not at all consumer-friendly in the aggregate. It is too hard for a user who knows how all of his or her different services work to get a good picture, let alone a doctor or emergency healthcare professional. Having one software interface where all of your data is tracked and displayed is clearly the correct solution. Someone certainly needs to do it. The question is, is Apple the right company to be doing it?

Emphatically: No, for three reasons.

  1. Apple is terrible at software. Can you name one piece of software that Apple makes which is really excellent? From iTunes to Mail to Pages to iCloud, one is worse than the other. OS X? Used to be the best, largely thanks to engineering, not design, but as they try to unify their desktop and mobile operating systems and user experience, it gets worse every day. Keynote? OK, I will grant you Keynote. But Apple has a long track record of being astonishingly good at hardware and cover-your-eyes-bad at software. Maybe they get it right here—I hope they do—but as my Mail app continues to misbehave and iCloud remains unusable after more than a decade of trying, I can’t fathom that they will.
  2. Health information access needs to be universal and consistent, not specific to mobile OS providers. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are locked in a battle for digital supremacy. Rather than search for solutions that are complementary they are each trying to create their own OS, their own devices, and their own mapping programs. If they are now also providing their own Healthbook equivalents, it could present a serious challenge. Do we expect healthcare professionals to train up on three different software environments? What happens to your Apple data if you change to Microsoft, will it be lost or just offline and not integrated? Do these shortsighted competitors have the vision to cooperate?
  3. Apple’s parochial interests will stifle innovation. The totality of this picture is a complex one. Apple, correctly, is trying to bring together a tremendous amount of health data and information from potentially very different sources and devices. Meanwhile, they are rapidly patenting various hardware, software, and input and output mechanisms aimed at the rapidly expanding mobile medical device market. Each success brings Apple closer to developing a Healthbook that is more proprietary, less universal, and infinitely less useful in the long-term and/or outside of the Apple bubble.

Ideally this sort of software would be created by an international non-profit focused solely on health and wellness as part of a blueprint for healthful humanity. Among their initiatives they would make this sort of top-order software as accessible and transferable and standardized as possible. Of course, there is no such organization. It seems like an obvious thing to be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but how much Microsoft stock does the Family Gates still hold? Around and around we go.

About Involution’s Health Design Practice
For almost 10 years, Involution has been building software for health companies of every shape and size, from household names like AstraZeneca and Walgreens, to research leaders like the Personal Genome Project and Partners HealthCare. We also work with the most exciting and progressive health startups. We’ve made digital healthcare our top focus.

There's no question that healthcare is an industry yearning for the advancements promised by Big Data analytics. Healthcare data is expected to grow between 1.2 to 2.4 exabytes per year — about 1,000 times the amount of data the human brain is capable of storing. This data is disparate and unstructured, making the extraction of useful information almost impossible. It is here that Big Data analytics promises to save the industry billions of dollars. This week Ricky Ribiero at Biz Tech Magazine joins the many voices investigating this trend. In his article, “Will Big Data Become the Big Savior of Health?” Ribiero illustrates how analytics can improve health outcomes and how tracking personal health, even down to the genome, can radically improve health. Ribiero cites a 2011 McKinsey & Co. report that states, “If US healthcare were to use big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than $300 billion in value every year.”

“While it’s true that analytics can reshape the way healthcare operates at an individual level,” Ribiero writes, “companies are hard at work trying to figure out how to leverage Big Data to improve health at the population level, too.”

hGraph, your health in one picture

hGraph, the only open source visualization for your complete health, developed by Involution

Involution's hGraph, an open-source visualization for health data, and other Big Data analytics have already begun to be integrated into corporate clinics, where population sizes are more controlled. However, it’s hospitals, labs and doctors’ offices where analytics could do the most good. In health, speed counts. And tools with good visualization provide clinicians with quick, actionable data that can save lives.

Involution Studios' hGraph — the only open source visualization for your complete health metrics — is being featured this month in "Digital Diagnosis: A New Generation of Healthcare Technology" in EContent Magazine.

The column, written by Eileen Mullan, explores how apps and visualization services like hGraph can help cut through the hassle of going to the doctor. Mullan writes, "hGraph is [...] designed to increase awareness of the individual factors that can affect overall health. Basically, it gives you (and your doctor) a holistic view of your health. You can have your entire medical history in one place, just like that. Imagine what something like hGraph will do for the future of healthcare industry (and for the time you waste in the waiting room)?"

hGraph, your health in one picture

hGraph, the only open source visualization for your complete health, developed by Involution

"Digital Diagnosis" is the latest in a string of articles on hGraph. Earlier this year hGraph was featured in Wired.com as a part of their series "How Restyling the Mundane Medical Record Could Improve Health Care." The Wired article highlights hGraph’s strong social component. By tracking the data for entire families hGraph illustrates how some conditions, like obesity and heart disease, can be affected by collective health choices. hGraph was also mentioned in Health IT Buzz, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services innovation blog. hGraph was a notable entry in the Patient Health Record Graphic Design Contest. The article notes that Involution designers “weren’t afraid to think outside the box, and both inspired the judges and challenged the status quo.

Involution's hGraph, an open source health metrics visualization, was recently featured in Wired Magazine online, highlighted in the article, “How Restyling the Mundane Medical Record Could Improve Health Care.” The Wired spot discusses hGraph’s strong social component: By tracking the data for entire families hGraph illustrates how some conditions, like obesity and heart disease, can be affected by collective health choices.

Health IT Buzz, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services innovation blog, also mentioned hGraph as a notable entry to the Patient Health Record Graphic Design Contest, where it inspired the judges and challenged the status quo. The article notes that Involution designers “weren’t afraid to think outside the box.” A simple-to-use tool like hGraph has the potential to improve patient care, prevent medication errors, and supply clear health metrics. By making health records usable and interactive, this software can empower doctors, caregivers, and patients to make better health decisions and save lives.

In addition to these accolades, hGraph was recently selected for the National Patient Record Redesign Showcase by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as being a 2012 MITX Interactive Awards Finalist.

hGraph

For Immediate Release
BOSTON, MA - October 19, 2012 - Involution Studios today announced that hGraph, an open source system for visualizing personal health metrics, has been selected as a finalist in the Healthcare and Wellness category for the 17th Annual MITX Interactive Awards. Held annually by the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, the Awards recognize excellence in the creation of web innovations designed, produced, or developed in New England. Since 1996 the MITX Awards have grown to become the largest and most prestigious awards competition for innovation in digital, celebrating the best creative and technological accomplishments emerging from the region.

“The submissions for this year’s MITX Awards were fantastic. We selected the finalists from a very impressive pool of work, and the decision was tough,” said MITX President Debi Kleiman. “New England’s creative companies are harnessing the power of digital to create stunning interactive work. The 2012 finalists represent true innovators: they are the best and brightest in our industry, and their passion shines through these projects in a way that will undoubtedly impact our industry as a whole. MITX is proud to celebrate them.”

hGraph information visualization

The hGraph information visualization for personal health metrics

hGraph is an information visualization particularly well-suited for viewing complex data, which provides a complete overview of an individual's health. The hGraph single picture method can have a profound effect on a person's understanding of their total well-being, because it compiles multiple metrics into a unified graph that can be viewed at a glance.

hGraph for iPad

The hGraph information visualization is being incorporated into mobile software, including apps for iPad and iPhone.

“We’re honored to be finalists in the MITX Interactive Awards, and proud to be a part of software innovation in the Boston area, where some of the best and brightest minds are solving problems in the healthcare space,” said Juhan Sonin, Creative Director of Involution.

hGraph is receiving increased attention both regionally and nationally; the visualization system won second prize in the New England Health Care Datapalooza earlier this month, and was selected as a part of the Stanford Medicine X conference on the intersection of medicine and emerging technologies in September. On October 24, 2012, Juhan Sonin will be presenting hGraph at O'Reilly's Strata Conference in New York. Additionally, the visualization is the key component of mobile software which will be deployed at two Fortune 500 corporate campus micro-clinics, beginning this fall.

hGraph for iPhone

Your health in one picture

Involution will be recognized with the other finalists at the MITX Interactive Awards gala traditionally attended by over 1,000 of the region’s top interactive marketing and technology professionals. Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Marriott Copley Place on November 20th.

About MITX
Established in 1996, MITX — the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange — is the leading industry organization focused on the web and mobile, bringing together the digital marketing, media and technology community to engage in what's next and how it will impact the marketing and business worlds. Connecting more than 7,500 professionals in New England, MITX is a dynamic community of thought leaders and collaborators in search of insight, education and opportunity. Creator of FutureM, MITX is headquartered in Boston, MA. For more information, visit www.mitx.org.

About Involution Studios

Involution designs and builds exceptional software for innovative and visionary companies. We deploy small and experienced teams to create applications that are highly usable and appropriately beautiful. Our client list includes Apple, AstraZeneca, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, Shutterfly, and Yahoo. For more information please contact info@goinvo.com or +1 617 803 7043.

Yesterday at the New England Health Datapalooza, held at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., judges Pierce Graham-Jones, Innovator in Residence at the US Department of Health and Human Services; John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Group; and Manu Tandon, CIO of the MA Department of HHS, selected hGraph, an open system for visualizing personal health metrics designed by Involution Studios, as the second place finisher in the regional competition.

hGraph at Datapalooza

Involution Studios Creative Director Juhan Sonin receives the award for hGraph from John Halamka, Pierce Graham-Jones, and Manu Tandon at the New England Health Datapalooza.

Datapalooza entries were judged on use of federal government data, creativity / innovation / originality, patient empowerment / engagement, usefulness to the public, and scalability. The New England Health Datapalooza was organized by the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium. Placing second in the competition qualifies hGraph and Involution to advance to the national Health Datapalooza, held in Washington, DC in June, 2013.

As the transformation from paper to electronic records takes place, hGraph provides an open source software visualization tool to health care providers and patients that enables decision-grade analysis. Like most information heavy fields, healthcare is fraught with the problems caused by too much data with no easy way to sort it all. People need to be able to actively use and benefit from the healthcare data collected about them, while avoiding information overload.

In order to gain insight into the complex, multi-dimensional data sets that represent health metrics, healthcare data requires visual representations that are engaging, optimized for use by both the health care provider and the patient, and support high-level pattern recognition and analysis as well as the ability to see deeper details.

hGraph information visualization

The hGraph information visualization for personal health metrics

hGraph is particularly well-suited for viewing complex data, providing a complete overview of an individual's health. This single picture method can have a profound effect on a person's understanding of their total well-being, because it compiles multiple metrics into a unified graph that can be viewed at a glance.

hGraph for iPad

The hGraph information visualization is being incorporated into mobile software, including apps for iPad and iPhone.

hGraph is receiving increased national attention and was selected as a part of the Stanford Medicine X conference last month on the intersection of medicine and emerging technologies. The hGraph information visualization is also being incorporated into mobile software for use on the campuses of two Fortune 500 companies at corporate micro-clinics, beginning this fall. Additionally, hGraph software prototypes are under consideration for use by several major health care providers.

Juhan Sonin, Creative Director of Involution Studios, will be presenting hGraph at O'Reilly's Strata Conference in New York, on October 24, 2012.