Twin Cities emerge as a hub of iPhone health app development

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is home to many well-established medical device companies. Now, the Twin Cities are seeing a new wave of innovation in iPhone apps and accessories for healthcare.

Marie Guion-Johnson's husband died from a heart attack in 2002, not long after a stress test indicated he was healthy. In hopes of helping others avoid the same fate, Guion-Johnson founded a company, AUM Cardiovascular, that is developing a non-invasive iPhone attachment to detect heart sounds associated with stenosis, then turn the sounds into an "acoustic signature" that can warn of blockage in coronary arteries.

A Minneapolis-based organization called the Vista Institute is getting ready to launch Shepherd, an iPhone app to help restaurateurs and farmers collect data on food safety. A local company, Punch Through Design, is working with the institute is creating a case for Shepherd that will connect a temperature probe to an iPhone. "The iPhone and the iPod Touch, it's a pretty cheap platform and it has a lot of power behind it," Punch Through Design owner Colin Karpfinger tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "It's a really nice building block to do other things with."

Another Twin Cities software developer, DoApp, is working with the Mayo Clinic on a series of apps. A meditation app hit the market earlier this year, and later this summer, DoApp will test an app for patients to send messages to their physicians.

For more about healthcare app development in Minnesota:
- check out this Minneapolis Star Tribune story