MIT health-monitoring app gets investor notice

mHealth newcomer Ginger.io, a spin-off from the MIT Media Lab, just emerged from TechStar's three-month incubation program in Boston to debut an intriguing new smartphone app. The company says the app, DailyData, can determine a patient's health risks by analyzing their smartphone use.

The app uses algorithms to study how patients use their smartphones, from calling to texting and other media patterns, according to company officials. The system creates a user profile, then analyzes the patient's use patterns over time to detect anomalies. For example, a bipolar patient beginning a manic episode might send out a burst of texts. The app is designed to note those patterns and send the patient question or alerts about their behavior, officials tell the MIT Technology Review.

"Changes in medication or mood are tied to communication and movement patterns," company co-founder Karan Singh, tells the Review. "Call diversity is a great example. When people fall into a cycle of depression, they tend to go into isolation and only call a couple of people."

The app's big selling point is that it automatically collects the health and activity information, rather than requiring patients to enter the data. And it may be working. DailyData debuted at TechStar's recent "DemoDays" expo and already has at least one major investor, although the size of the cash infusion hasn't been disclosed.

One possible hiccup: Ginger.io officials tell the Boston Globe that they plan to sell the information, albeit with user permission, to health and pharmaceutical companies. It's a move that could make users slow to engage with the new app.

To learn more:
- discover more details from the MIT Technology Review
- get more information about TechStar's "DemoDays"
- learn more from Matrix Partners' analysis
- check out Portfolio.com's perspective
- read the Boston Globe's story

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