Top Five Health Innovations of the Week

This week’s innovations include an app that helps women through their pregnancy and a pacemaker made from the heart’s own cells

Each week with its partner Boehringer Ingelheim brings you a snapshot of five innovative ideas that are reshaping the health care industry. This week’s innovations include an app that helps women through their pregnancy and a pacemaker made from the heart’s own cells. Be sure to check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages to stay on top of all things health.


App Guides Expectant Mothers Through All Stages Of Pregnancy
Glow Nurture is a mobile app that helps women conceive, and advises them during every step of their pregnancy. Along with guidance on prenatal nutrition and milestones to watch for, the app provides a community for women and partners to discuss their experiences with the pregnancy process. When women log into Glow Nurture, they can record their personal information and symptoms. The app then compares women’s personal data to what has been gathered on the site. For instance, if a woman has a particular concern, she can enter in her information and the database in Glow Nurture will compare that information with the research gathered. If the symptom or questions seems to be a particular concern, the app will tell the woman whether she should see her doctor and what to ask. The app has helped more than 20,000 women get pregnant in the past year.


Heart Cells Transformed Into A Biological Pacemaker
Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles have come up with a new method for making a ‘biological pacemaker’ that might one day serve as an alternative to electronic ones. Making this pacemaker involves injecting the TBX18 gene into heart muscle cells, which transforms these normal heart cells into special cells that can initiate a heartbeat. This method could be useful for certain patients, such as those who develop infections from electronic pacemakers and need to have the devices temporarily removed, or fetuses with life-threatening heart disorders who cannot have an electronic pacemaker implanted.


Smartphone App Simplifies The Diagnosis Of Hereditary Diseases
A research team, led by Marcel Schulz of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany, has developed an app that can simplify the diagnosis of diseases such as as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease, which can present a wide array of symptoms. The app, called ‘Phenomizer’, is available as a free Android app on Google Play for smartphones and tablets, making it available to doctors all over the world. To use the program, the doctor inputs a patient’s symptoms. The system then scans a large online database called the Human Phenotype Ontology, which stores over 10,000 disease characteristics and links them to 7,500 diseases. Within seconds of entering the data, the doctor is presented with a list of the most likely illnesses the patient has. The simple and low cost app app greatly reduces research time and increases one-on-one time with patients.


New Patient Itinerary App Debuts At Mount Sinai Hospital
Mount Sinai Hospital announced a new “Patient Itinerary” app that provides patients with a detailed schedule of upcoming treatments, procedures and tests. Conceived by the Mount Sinai Inpatient Care Model Redesign Team and developed in-house, the iPad app runs on tablets provided by the New York City-based tech company PadInMotion. The goal with the app is to provide a real-time snapshot of clinical care information and make the hospital stay less stressful, as well as ensure that patients are better informed.


Insurance Policy Rewards Employees’ Healthy Shopping Choices With Cash
EatRight Rewards is an insurance policy that is encouraging healthy eating by offering cash to employees that buy fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. Developed by Boston-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the program has teamed up with supermarkets including Shaw’s, Star Market, Roche Brothers, Hannaford, Wegmans to provide data on members’ shopping habits. Using an algorithm, each product in employees’ shopping carts is assigned a score based on how healthy it is. The company has already rated more than 100,000 foods to help determine the healthiness of the scheme’s members. Those who stick to products like fruit and vegetables and forgo chocolates and fatty foods can earn up to USD 20 a month in cash, which is deposited into their checking or PayPal accounts. The company hopes that the monetary incentive will help foster a healthier workforce and reduce premiums for businesses.

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Every two weeks, we will be posting an article on If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s FacebookTwitter and Pinterest pages to stay on top of all things health.