Seen at Health 2.0: Health Applications With a Social Element

27 Sep

At the Health 2.0 Conference, I’ve been scouting for companies and apps that are using social elements to promote health and wellness. Here’s what I’ve found so far, on stage, in the exp, and from random conversations.

Social Support

There are, of course, lots of support communities with the usual set of community/social networking features. This space is thriving. I think there were more of these in the Expo that I passed by quickly if they didn’t seem to have new elements that caught my attention.

  • Crohnology (Crohn’s and Colitis), created by Sean Ahrens, who was on my pick-up team during the weekend code-a-thon; we won a prize, but more on that in another post.
  • Alliance Health Networks (for many conditions)
  • OneRecovery (addiction, more on them in a separate post laster)
  • MedHelp (social network with feed, and lots of forums, though a random sample of them I looked at were not very active, so perhaps not a great strategy for them. You can also track your moods or other things (e.g., weight and other vitals during pregancy) and share these).
  • There was a parallel track on communities that conflicted with another session, with some familiar and some new sites: SparkPeople (weight loss), FertilityPlanIt, dLife(diabetes) , Wellness Layers (white label provider for NutriSystem and others),

CaringBridge lets people set up websites/blogs to help friends and family follow progress and offer support to someone who is ill.

Behavior Change

There are several providers who sell to corporate health and wellness programs. These seem to have a core set of features in common (tracking, sign up as a team).

  • Keas (adds gamification: points rewards for various activities; teams compete)
  • Zamzee (also adds gamification; and its own pedometer with USB key for easy upload.)
  • Medullan has a product in closed beta that uses a FitLinxx pedometer with wireless update to iPhone or Android. If you and friends are using this, it will have the advantage of allowing intra-day comparison/competition.
  • ShapeUp (competition between teams) started as a side project of two medical students in Rhode Island. Co-founder Rajiv Kumar says it now reaches more than 2 million
  • numerasocial is in beta as a Facebook App, with iPhone interface as well, but it appears they are planning to sell to corporate wellness programs.

There were also some direct-to-consumer products demo’ed or discussed, either at the conference, or at the Habit Formation Meetup I attended:

  •, from Michael Kim (@michaelbkim) at Kairos Labs (@kairoslabs), will be launching soon. It’s a game you play to form positive behavior habits and break bad ones by, for example, identifying triggers and linking or unlinking behaviors with them. Saw a quick demo over dinner and it looks pretty slick. I look forward to investigating the multi-player aspects of it when it comes out.
  • Nike+ now has a feature where if you post to Facebook that you’re running, and someone comments or likes it, you hear a cheer while you’re running. There are also games to play with a remote buddy who is running at the same time. I just downloaded the app and am looking forward to checking it out.
  • TheCarrot (goal setting and tracking app; can share in a feed with others who have similar goals)
  •, a startup in private beta, that has social features for habit design. Looking forward to seeing how it works.

Judgment/Decision Making

Social approaches to decision making are less well represented here. One example I found is Medify. It’s a service that helps consumers explore the research literature to make evidence-based decisions. For Q4, they are working on social navigation features, to let people share and comment on what they’ve found. I suggested that one of the most valuable would be item-item collaborative filtering: people who bookmarked this item also bookmarked these others. Amazon’s Listmania feature might also be a good one for them to emulate.


One Response to “Seen at Health 2.0: Health Applications With a Social Element”

  1. Mary Zhu (@hazyrum) September 29, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    I’ve recently started using Fitocracy beta [fitness tracking with a heavy dose of gamification (levels! challenges!) ] I sent you an invite 🙂

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