Please describe the scope of their work?
It was a partnership for the design of the application. They have an extremely clever marketing and user interface capability. Number one, they’re affordable, and number two, we went in with a crude idea of what the intuitive interface would be. They had strong and interesting recommendations for moving away from the "blood and guts" perspective that might typically come out of a medical device. Our intuitive interface doesn’t have opthosclerotic plaque or a heart shriveling to show what happens as people age, or they develop cardiovascular disease. But it's based on the concept of having a maple leaf change colors as it would happen during fall foliage.
We’ve talked to some behavioral psychologists since we’ve begun to develop this concept, and we’ve received very good feedback about this notion of how to communicate this complicated process into something that is visual and quick. I believe this is a particularly strong capability that Mobisoft, being able to do something other than just code. But, code in context can make the user interface something that is usable, attractive, and informative to consumers that would use this type of product going forward.
What was your process for selecting Mobisoft Infotech?
We initially connected with the CEO of Mobisoft, Shaile, in an exploratory way. Mobisoft Infotech is rated in the top three or four app developers in the United States. They have a very good reputation. We found them in our backyard, and we began a dialogue as to what it would involve to create a mobile health app that could provide an intuitive interface that would inform healthcare consumers about their cardiovascular health. That’s how it began initially; initially, we thought we would include our understanding of this clinical trial. I had spent a week in UCLA at a mobile health conference, where I lectured on technology but began to learn more about mobile health earlier this year. I got a sense that it would be exciting to put together an intuitive interface.
We wanted to move above and beyond the limits that exist within a university. We wanted to create something that could impact clinical care. We wanted it to help the average person on the street who doesn’t understand biomarkers, and who doesn’t have all the lessons learned from cardiology how to interpret that and deliver an intuitive and could happen on a cell phone.
The interactions that evolved from Mobisoft happened during three to four weeks. We did planning and built up this project. We had been selected to participate in an X-Prize competition in Santa Clara, Calif. This project created an excuse for us to pull all the pieces together, to build an instrument to build software. We were hoping to build a mobile health app that ended up evolving through the interactions with Mobisoft. That interaction evolved, and we launched the project.
We got a quote from them, and they were on target. Within one to two months, we had an app that was uploaded to the Apple App Store, and the equivalent capability for Android-based systems. We were able to go to Silicon Valley for the X-Prize competition and demonstrated it live there. It was a very exciting interaction, and has opened our minds with respect to what is possible. We were able to move above and beyond the confines of writing something up in a paper that is nice for the authors and stuffing the resume, but not necessarily having the clinical impact that could be put in places outside the confines of our labs.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
Our situation was not typical. We used Mobisoft and four other commercial partners that came into an ecosystem to contribute to our X-Prize. They saw value with respect to the publicity that came from that, as well as in-kind support. We basically collaborated instead of simply purchased a service. My cost estimate may be misleading.
When was the latest milestone completed for that work?
At this stage, I want to emphasize that we're not done. We're still doing our clinical trial. We're working with these apps and refining as we go the calculators, and the mathematical basis for what feeds the intuitive interfaces that are still in a state of evolution. It's given us a vehicle to begin to communicate the vision of what is possible. We're running six major trials now, involving 10 clinical sites and more than 5,000 patients. We've just begun a dialogue with Mobisoft to do trial number two. We're looking at a pipeline of new, intuitive interfaces. We're talking to Mobisoft about a third application as well. A number of things are evolving based on a nice outcome from the first interactions with them.