In the weeks leading up to this weekend’s code-a-thon, conversations like this, with respected community organizers like Greg Bloom were happening:
This is a reasonable question. In some mHealth circles, people feel “App” is a bad word now, because it seems like too simple a solution to complex problems.
Enter this week’s code-a-thon. As I mentioned in the post about the code-a-thon yesterday, there were more than a few experts in social determinants of health and geospatial imaging present, and it made a difference. By the time we got to presenting the final entries, I definitely noticed that teams had learned, slept on things, and created tools that enhanced understanding of community conditions, not just a person’s day to day activities. Since many people believe that that the causes of behavior lie deeper than individuals having information, this is very important.
And the winner is…. School Fit
The School Fit team, which happens to include amongst its ranks Christine Kraft ( @ChristineKraft ) (who said she would just do a drive by on Saturday and now look what happened…). developed a ruby on rails app that integrates location based information along with school fitness rankings to work at a family and community level to combat obesity.
This application, like many others at the code-a-thon, relies on layers of community data to guide people either to civic action, or to understand better the causes of the causes of their conditions. The team is mindful of social differences between schools, so have planned the metrics around educational activities as well as outcomes to assign fit scores to schools. From that perspective, I say, yes, this app could bring neighbors together to solve community problems.
These aren’t the apps that might have been built 1 – 2 years ago, which tells me that (a) people interested in developing apps for health are interested in improving health and are able and willing to learn the most promising avenues to do that (b) the connection to geospatial analysis and social data can change the way people think:
#health2dev “important for me to know what’s going on in my county” – developer understands importance of community conditions. Cool.
Alan Viars ( @avairs ) bringing the hot sauce was just icing on the cake. Thanks to Danielle Cass ( @DanielleCass ), The Health 2.0 Challenge Team, Deb Linton ( @pingdeb ), Hemali Thakkur, and the Center for Total Health ( @kptotalhealth ) for the hospitality.