Next Steps for Digital Health

During the last few days of December, Ginger.io, a mobile health analytics startup announced a new round of funding totaling $20 million. What’s more impressive than the fresh new capital is the potential that this group of MIT scientists and engineers brings to the world of big data trends in healthcare.

For those that aren’t as familiar with Ginger.io, the behavioral analytics service collects sensor data from a user’s smartphone and, along with selective health questions, analyzes the data to build a personal behavior model. These potential correlative results can be simply kept by the user or passed along to a health provider for further analysis.

At the beginning of December 2014, Ginger.io announced a service, Utah SmartCare, that’s intended to aid low-income residents of Utah that are potentially suffering from mental health issues such as severe depression.

Funded by a grant from the Cambia Health Foundation, the program is targeting 500 patients that are suffering from both a mental and physical health illness. This trial is a small but a significant step in how mobile tracking of specific health factors can help monitor potential harmful behavioral patterns in individuals.

Mental illness is just the beginning of what services such as Ginger.io can help address through behavioral analytics on a mobile device. Towards the beginning of 2014, Newsweek leveraged data from County Health Ratings, mapping out statistics such as driving alone to work, mental illness, mental health and more. A network of digital health applications and services will be able to help identify trends within big data more effectively and efficiently, giving doctors and the health community more trends to consider to help promote potentially healthier, safer environments.

The consumer tech industry has been focused primarily on fitness apps for mobile and most recently we have seen some intriguing wearable technology, many of which are designed for infants or personal hygiene. 2015 will see foundational changes in how we consume and react to everyday health data collected from out mobile phone. Services like Ginger.io, Apple’s HealthKit, and more will pave the way.

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