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Research Institute wins contest for mobile heart program

​​​​Medical Advances at Marshfield Clinic​

​​Marshfield Clinic Research Institute was recently announced as the winner of a national competition to develop a smartphone application to help improve heart health in the United States.

The "app," known as Heart Health Mobile was developed for the Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge. The Challenge was organized by the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The competition aimed to find an application that supports Million Hearts' initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

For winning the competition, the Research Institute​ received a $100,000 award to support the app's continued development.  In addition, Heart Health Mobile will be the centerpiece of promotional campaigns led by Health and Human Services in Chicago, Baltimore, San Diego, Philadelphia, and Tulsa.

"Our goal with Heart Health Mobile was to develop an app that can help people live healthier lives," said Simon Lin, M.D., app project leader and director of the Biomedical Informatics Research Center. "The app gives people a fun, interactive tool that lets them track key risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, while monitoring improvement."

Heart Health Mobile works on Apple iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices and is available in the Apple app store.  A web-based version designed to work on other smartphone devices, laptops, desktop computers and any other device with a web browser will be available at www.hearthealthmobile.com.

With an easy-to-use design, Heart Health Mobile tracks users' heart disease and stroke risk factors. Users enter statistics such as height, weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They then answer questions such as: "Do you smoke?" and "Do you have diabetes?"

The app also offers educational information about heart disease and allows users to find nearby locations for cholesterol and blood-pressure screening in areas with participating pharmacies. A feature that tracks users' histories allows people to easily monitor progress.

To keep people interested in using the app, developers created a version that incorporates achievements and a mini-game designed to make tracking risk factors more entertaining for people as they work to improve their health.

"With Heart Health Mobile, we were inspired to find a way to make the concept of a healthy lifestyle entertaining," said Bryan Weichelt, project manager for the app. "Just as we all need motivation to exercise and eat healthful food, we also need easy-to-use tools to track our health goals. That's what this app aims to provide."

More than two dozen people in 11 Marshfield Clinic departments helped create Heart Health Mobile, with initial funding from Marshfield Clinic's Applied Sciences Division.

To learn more about how to support mobile health technology initiatives like Heart Health Mobile, please contact Pete Schmeling, Development Officer – Research, at 800-858-5220 or schmeling.pete@marshfieldclinic.org​.​