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Digital medicine takes center stage at Body Computing confab

Seventh annual event spotlights disruptive technologies in health

People use Instagram to document everything from the meals they eat to the new shoes they buy. Now the app allows users to take their heart rate and post it on Instagram, marking the first time biostatistical information has been integrated onto a multimedia platform for sharing.

“BioGram can bring biostatistical information to millions of people through an existing photo-sharing platform, and it creates data experiences that are aesthetic and emotional,” said Leslie Saxon, co-inventor of the app, which was shown publicly for the first time on Oct. 4 at the seventh annual USC Body Computing Conference.

Hosted by the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC), a digital health research and innovation center, the conference at Town & Gown brought together scientists, clinicians and business leaders to discuss innovative ideas that use technology to improve health care.

During opening remarks, Saxon, executive director of the CBC, touched on the growing importance of digital health in today’s tech-driven world.

“At the USC Center for Body Computing, we believe digital health is the vanguard technology to connect, correct and even cure. … I see the information tools that are out there and want to harness and enhance those tools to improve health, inspire health literacy and engage patients,” she said.

“Digital technology has the potential to empower people rather than enhance the power of the traditional medical establishment. It’s disruptive, which is why it can be scary to a lot of people,” Saxon continued. “Accepting the digital health revolution means changing long-held and effective patterns. It means trading in something good for something new — and therefore scary — and something better.”

In addition to BioGram, the event spotlighted several digital health products and new technologies. Some highlights included:

  • AliveCor Inc. unveiled a versatile new heart monitor that easily attaches to any compatible smartphone or smartphone case. The design includes AliveCor ultrasound technology that enables a clinical-quality ECG recording of the heart’s activity while minimizing battery drain.
  • Karten Design demonstrated a concept app called Heart Coach, which seeks to empower heart failure patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators by providing them with a digital coach for managing their heart health. The app uses progressive disclosure, algorithms and coaching to actively engage patients in positive behavior change.
  • The CBC teamed with Santa Monica-based TasteMade to create health content for YouTube. The CBC’s first sponsored production — a health cooking video targeting diabetes — debuted at the conference.
  • Michelle Longmire, founder of Medable, showed off her company’s product, which could be described as a Facebook for people in a hospital, such as patients, families and health care workers.
  • Sports biostatistics expert Paul Robbins of Stats LLC discussed the NBA data that he’s been collecting for the NBA-Stats deal, which was announced a month ago.  The CBC also works with USC Athletics and pro athletes to help create solutions, data and experiences around biostatistics.

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Digital medicine takes center stage at Body Computing confab

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