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A new heart rate app fuses health, technology and social media

BioGram allows consumers to add their medical information to photo-sharing sites

BioGram app
The BioGram app lets people share their heart rate on social media. (Photos/Trina Gregory and Fer Waigandt)

Heart health is going both mobile and social with a new app created at USC.

The free BioGram, the first app to allow heart rates to be shared with a photo, is available for download on iTunes. It was conceived by cardiology experts at the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC) as well as collaborators at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and two private companies.

BioGram stamps heart rates onto photos that can be posted to Facebook and other social media. The user’s heart rate is recorded from AliveCor’s Heart Monitor, a portable device built into a smartphone case that stores, displays and transfers electrocardiogram rhythms wirelessly. For those without an ECG reader, heart rates can be input manually or from another sensor.

“The convergence of health, technology and mobile digital devices is allowing us all to become smart patients,” said Leslie Saxon, executive director of the USC CBC and co-inventor of Biogram. “Now millions of people can add biostatistical information to existing photo-sharing social media activities, and while it provides insightful data that is emotional, aesthetic and informative, it also makes health education more entertaining.”

Value for the consumer

Students from USC Viterbi provided coding for the app, under the direction of faculty member Trina Gregory.

USC CBC was responsible for development and design on the project, and medical-based app-development company Medable provided HIPPA-compliant services. AliveCor hardware records the actual heart rates.

“The BioGram app was especially inspiring for USC engineering students because of the greater purpose and value it brings to the consumer,” Gregory said. “We enjoy collaborating on cross-disciplinary projects with Dr. Saxon and the CBC, and have for many years. The fact BioGram is available on iTunes already shows the students how classroom knowledge translates into real-life projects quickly.”

Biogram is compatible with HealthKit, a new feature that came with Apple’s iOS 8 update.

“Our platform allows patients using BioGram to securely share their biostats with whom they want — either widely on social media or directly with their doctor,” said Medable CEO Michelle Longmire. “It’s exciting to work with USC on a big data project where we can learn so much about the human body.”

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A new heart rate app fuses health, technology and social media

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