Johnson & Johnson subsidiary launches self-tracking app

By Jonah Comstock
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Wellness and PreventionWellness & Prevention, a division of Johnson & Johnson that works with health plans on behavior change coaching, has released a mobile app, Track Your Health. The app is not available to the general public, but rather, through health plans to the 30 million covered lives that have access to Wellness & Prevention products.

"Fundamentally, Wellness & Prevention is about encouraging positive and healthy behavior change in individuals and doing it in a way that’s rooted in science," Tyler Steben, head of the mobile product line at Wellness & Prevention, told MobiHealthNews. "With this app we saw that there’s clearly a market trend around quantified self, around individuals wanting to capture more data around their activities as they related to their health. We noticed some problems, or rather, we identified an opportunity, an opening for the creation of a new app." 

Track Your Health can incorporate data from a number of third party health trackers and sensors, allowing users to track and aggregate data, set goals, and visualize their weight, movement and nutrition progress in the form of charts. Additionally, it will send anonymized data back to the health plan that users belong to. If users don't have connected devices, they can enter some information manually or use the iPhone 5s's built-in M7 motion co-processor.

"There are more and more ways people can capture data about their activity and about their health, and it’s becoming fairly cluttered in the marketplace," Steben said. "The different makers of hardware all have their individual ecosystems and apps. But ultimately the user wants a combined, coherent look at all of their data."

Wellness & Prevention's mobile team was the team that built Johnson & Johnson's 7-minute Workout app, which Steben says has had half a million downloads in the four months since it launched. He attributes that to the app's user-centered, gamified design approach. They hope to see the same engagement with Track Your Health, which launched for iOS devices this week and will be available for Android in June.

"Games are successful because they tap into behavioral psychology, and they end up being engaging not just because they’re a leisure time activity, but because they really appeal to and leverage how and why people want to engage and interact with a digital experience," Steben said. "...A lot of the underlying principals you see in game design could apply to a health and wellness situation."

In addition to The 7-Minute Workout, Johnson & Johnson has a high-profile medication adherence app called Care4Today, which is run through the J&J-owned Janssen Healthcare Innovations. Both those apps are available to the general public, which Steben said may be possible in the future for Track Your Health. Right now, he said, they are focused on members of health plans that work with Wellness & Prevention.