The floor of the mHealth Summit was full of devices that have the power to change the way we take care of patients. Macaw, an app from US Preventative Medicine, may well be such an example. It takes advantage of Qualcomm’s 2Net which enables innovators to wirelessly “plug” any device into the 2Net platform and let it handle the transmission and management of the data. By simplifying communication, it promises to accelerate the pace of wireless health innovation.

The question next becomes what do we do with all of that information – how do we sort through the noise and find something useful that we can use to make a difference ? Macaw seeks to address that precise problem. US Preventative Medicine is, in many ways, a behavior management company, providing both general health and disease-specific management with a focus on driving healthy behaviors. Working with Qualcomm, they designed Macaw to be a “personal health monitor” that takes the data collected by pedometers, glucose monitors, and other devices, incorporates it into their health management program, using it in real-time to make a difference in the patient’s life. With 2Net integration, Macaw can collect incredible amounts of data passively and use it to provide the real-time, mobile feedback that mHealth is all about.

We had the opportunity to talk with Ashley Reynolds, SVP of Health and Member Services at the mHealth Summit last week and get a live demo – check it out below!

Some background on US Preventative Medicine

In some ways, US Preventative Medicine is similar to the many disease management companies out there and in fact provides many disease-specific management programs. The difference though is the additional focus on being healthy – exercising, eating right, and so on – and a philosophy that incorporates the idea of “gamification,” i.e. to being engaging and fun, making use something the patient wants to do rather than has to do. That is apparent in Macaw, which has a bright, intuitive, and simple user interface coupled with ample positive reinforcement and incentives for completing tasks like taking the stairs instead of elevator or learning tips to maintain a healthy diet.

To get started, users take an online health assessment and get some baseline labwork. From this, a personalized risk assessment is generated as well as a health score, a simple way to communicate to their overall health status. Exercising more, improving labs like A1c, and so on improves the score, giving patients an easy to interpret way to track progress. As part of the program, they get access to online tools, a nurse health coach, educational resources, and a reward program which provides positive reinforcement to drive healthy behaviors.

What the 2Net Integration means

Lets take the example of a pedometer (Macaw currently uses the 2Net enabled FitLinxx pedometer). Knowing how many steps you take in a day is, on its own, trivia. Users on their own may set their own goals, like walking a certain number of steps per day or even integrate positive reinforcement like a reward for reaching a certain goal.

Macaw however plugs this data into a system. The user, who has set say an exercise goal, can now get feedback on their progress from a health coach, positive reinforcement for reaching milestones, and more. Paired with educational activities within the app, which are also tied to positive reinforcement mechanisms, the pedometer data becomes part of a much bigger feedback loop aimed at driving healthy behavior. What the pedometer enables is the passive collection of relevant data and its the ability to do that without additionally burdening the patient is critical.

Its not hard to imagine how 2Net blood pressure cuffs, blood glucose monitors, weight scales, and other standard monitors fit in to this system. Or take some of the other innovative products we saw that the mHealth Summit, like the asthma inhaler usage monitor from Asthmapolis which tracks when and where a patient uses their inhaler – with Macaw, it enables the ability to drive medication compliance or even flag patient’s heading towards a dangerous exacerbation. 2Net then becomes the glue holding this all together.

Macaw then becomes more than a simple data aggregator where a patient goes to view meaningless data. Rather, its a place where the data is turned into meaningful action, whether that’s encouraging more exercise, improving medication compliance, or flagging concerning trends. Paired with a dynamic support system of health coaches, rewards for desired behaviors, and more, the potential of mHealth moves closer to being realized.

Check out our demo of Macaw below: