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Guest Post: The Ginger.io Effect.

I've seen mentions of this Ginger.io service in different parts of the DOC (like over at Scott's blog house, and Kim's, and then over at the New York Times).  I've done some research on their company, and for people who don't mind having the location services, etc. turned on for their phones, it's an interesting way of collecting data to provide insight on health habits (although for me, I'm not so much about sharing every data point of my day).  So when Peter (the account manager for Ginger.io) contacted me to see if he could help spread the word about this data-driven service, I was happy to help. Mostly because after talking to Peter and telling him that I didn't want to post a "call for participants!" but instead wanted to share some of their more altruistic company mission-type stuff, he was happy to oblige. 

Here's a little bit about who the people behind Ginger.io are, what their mission is, and how you can get involved, if you want!

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Ginger, E I E I O

Kerri, thanks for letting us speak to your readers!  I wanted to start by explaining why we describe ourselves as “a small startup on a big (data) mission.”  As a company, and as individuals, we are all committed to changing the healthcare system and improving patient experiences.

Each of us has our own personal story of interacting with the healthcare system, and a reason for dedicating ourselves to this cause.  For our co-founders Anmol and Karan, even though they grew up halfway around the world from each other, it was the shared experience of seeing the impact of poor health information and decisions on their families and communities.  They would later meet at MIT, where Anmol, a PhD in computer science, had developed expertise in modeling human behavior patterns, and Karan, a MBA, had a deep knowledge of the health care system.

The two connected over their shared interest in helping people make the connection between actions and health outcomes.  What began as a “Daily Data” app turned into a platform for helping people living with chronic conditions by providing a check engine light for their loves ones.  An early version of the Ginger.io app, focused on helping people living with diabetes learn about and share how their behavior affected their health, and won Sanofi US’s 2011 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge!

As a follow up to the Innovation Challenge, we have partnered with Sanofi US to provide a limited number of opportunities to use our app to people with type 2 diabetes.  It’s free, secure, and is an innovative way to keep track of how you’re doing, because it focuses on overall well-being.  The app collects active data, from mood surveys you fill out, and passive data, based on how you use your phone. The more behavior data we collect, the more accurate our map for type 2 diabetes becomes. This means that your participation doesn’t just improve care for you. It contributes to science and improves care for other people like you.

So how does it actually work? Our platform uses the sensors already in your smartphone to collect general data around your movement and communication patterns — with minimum effort from you.  All we ask of participants is to answer a few questions every few days to supplement the data being collected from your smartphone sensors.  

For the first two or three months, we’ll focus on collecting data and learning how your condition affects your behavior.  Once we have your behavior baseline, we’ll start delivering personalized health insights and allow you to better connect with your care team by alerting them when something seems out of place.

Those interested can learn more about Ginger.io and/or sign up to get started!  

If you have any further questions you can also reach the Ginger.io team by emailing help@ginger.io. 

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Questions for the Ginger.io team?  Leave them in the comments or email their team!

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