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Listen Up: Why Innovators Need to Listen to Consumers

May 23, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Beth Toner

Beth Toner, communications officer Beth Toner, communications officer

I recently spent the day at the MIT AgeLab, and it was an important reminder of why successful innovators in any field need to listen to the consumer.

I was there to participate in a roundtable discussion on engaging the “older” consumer online (much to my chagrin, I realized that I am in fact part of this demographic). Folks from a variety of for-profit organizations were at the table, along with MIT AgeLab staff conducting and supporting research in this area. I was the only person there from a philanthropic organization.

The presenter line-up was eclectic. To my delight, Sally Okun from Pioneer grantee PatientsLikeMe was there to share her perspective on how PatientsLikeMe helps patients make complex decisions about their health. Courtney Ratkowiak from Proctor & Gamble highlighted that company’s innovative efforts to reach women ages 55 and older who buy beauty products. (I was surprised to learn that most women 55+ don’t own a smart phone.) Mark Duffey, CEO of Everest Funeral Planning, showed how his company makes difficult decision-making easier by going out of his way to make prices clear. (Apparently, the three things women dread purchasing the most are financial services, cars and health care.)

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Health Foo 2013: Best Canceled Event, Ever

Apr 24, 2013, 11:52 AM, Posted by Ted Eytan

Painting by Regina Holliday "The Open Door," a painting by Regina Holliday inspired by Health Foo 2013

A version of this post originally appeared on Ted’s personal blog.

At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, I received word that Health Foo, an annual unconference about health set in Cambridge, MA, was canceled because Boston and its surrounding areas were on lockdown as the search for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects continued. Like me, many other attendees were already en route, and we quickly decided that we’d find a way to make Health Foo happen for anyone who was in town and was interested.

There was no mistaking the gravity of the situation on Friday. The decision to cancel was a good one. What happened next, though, was pretty amazing.

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Heritage Open mHealth Challenge: Searching for a Sum Greater Than Its Parts

Mar 4, 2013, 3:14 PM, Posted by Christine Nieves

Christine Nieves Christine Nieves

“Smart” phones are rapidly becoming ubiquitous; almost half of all American adults own one. Every one of those phones has the potential to be a health companion for its owner, providing reminders about pills to take or tips about healthier foods to eat. Phones can also collect valuable health data—such as the quality of the air we breathe or the number of steps we walk. For people with a chronic disease such as diabetes, a smart phone can track the kinds of meals that spike their blood sugar or the side effects of their medications; it can even relay that information back to a doctor, who can then help patients better manage their health.

To date, the major tool for harnessing the power of mobile technology has been the app. Just like there are apps for weather, news, or restaurant reviews, there are apps for health. They can do amazing things, from measuring and monitoring, to imaging and predicting. But, there aren’t just a handful of them—there are thousands! And, that’s where the Heritage Open mHealth Challenge comes in.

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Pioneer Grantee Open mHealth Showcases Work at mHealth Summit 2012

Dec 18, 2012, 9:39 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

On December 3-5, 2012, Pioneer grantee Open mHealth spread the word about their work at the annual mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C. by hosting a panel session and engaging attendees at RWJF’s exhibit booth. Follow along with this Storify chronicling Open mHealth’s activities at the summit, and learn why their work to integrate apps through an open architecture is what’s next in mHealth.

 

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The “Mobile” in “Mobile Health” Isn’t the Gadget; It’s the Data

Dec 6, 2012, 9:30 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Al Shar Al Shar

For the fourth year in a row, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is proud to sponsor this week’s mHealth Summit. We see the mHealth Summit—attended by about 4,500 leaders from 50 countries—as an important gathering of thought leaders to source new ideas and learn about innovations in mobile health and the future of wireless medical connectivity. While there is no shortage of private sector investments in these technologies and businesses, we want to help identify investments that ensure that the mHealth space creates the greatest social good. 

In advance of the summit, we caught up with Al Shar, vice president and senior program officer, to talk about his vision for mobile health, as well as the role the Foundation can play moving forward.

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