Apps like Instagram and Facebook already allow us to share the most intimate details of our lives on a minute-by-minute basis. But apparently there’s still at least one personal detail missing from these interactions: health data.
Biogram, a photosharing app developed by the USC Center for Body Computing and Medable, lets anyone stamp their heart rate data on photos. It’s not that exciting, perhaps, for pictures taken on a relaxed day in the park with friends. But sharing your heartbeat after climbing a major mountain peak? That’s bragging rights.
“We wanted to create a texture for biomedical data and also make it more sticky. That was the inspiration behind Biogram,” says Dr. Michelle Longmire, cofounder of Medable. “Say you take your heartrate with the Alivecor [ECG smartphone case] or you have a new blood glucose reading. You take that data, pair it with your favorite social media, put it on Facebook or Instagram. The meaning is driven by what media you pair it with.” If you don’t happen to have a portable ECG reader on hand, you can enter data manually into the app as well.
There are potential applications beyond sharing heart rate data after a big trek. Some of them are silly–a celebrity sharing their heartrate while waiting to find out if they’ve won a big award–and others could actually be useful. A lengthy period of photos stamped with a high heart rate could indicate anxiety. A series of high heart-rate photos from a single geographic area might point to some sort of collective stressor. And over time, seeing friends’ Biogram data while engaged in different activities offers a window into what a normal heart rate looks like.
Medable, a company that offers a HIPAA compliance platform for apps (in other words, it makes sure that medical apps are compliant with the regulations that dictate how private health data is secured and shared), has ensured that all is legal with the Biogram app. “When you have data in the Biogram app, when you have your personal feed, the data is all encrypted. Of course, when you share it’s obviously no longer private,” says Longmire. Biogram is also compatible with Apple’s HealthKit.
Biogram will be available in Apple’s App Store on November 1.