Ginger.io is working with UCSF, Duke, Partners on diverse pilots

By Jonah Comstock
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ginger.ioGinger.io, a health startup focused on passive data collection through smartphones, announced a number of high profile clinical pilots that have been quietly employing its technology. Ginger.io is now working with UC San Francisco, Partners HealthCare (Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and McLean Hospital), Duke University, UC Davis and University of Nebraska Medical Center -- a list which includes more than half of the top 10 academic medical centers in the US, the company said in a statement.

The company makes a smartphone app that passively collects data from users’ phones including information on their movement throughout the day, call patterns, and texting patterns. Users can also actively record information about how they are feeling each day. If the app senses that something is off with the user, it can automatically notify a third party, like the user’s family or a physician.

This technology can be used in the treatment of mental health conditions, but the behavior patterns Ginger.io tracks can also be used to monitor chronic conditions like heart disease. The spate of recently announced pilots includes both these use cases.

"Like providers, academic medicine is looking for better ways to understand how patient behaviors affect health outcomes,” Dr. Anmol Madan, co-founder and CEO of Ginger.io said in a statement. “Ginger.io’s smartphone app and analytics engine is essentially a new class of microscope that helps quantify and understand real-world behavior at scale, in many different disease areas. For our academic partners, this offers new insight about clinical characterization, and it may lead to better diagnosis and new therapeutics and interventions for these conditions.” 

UCSF and McLean Hospital are both using Ginger.io with mental health patients. UCSF has an online study of hundreds of patients with depression which uses Ginger.io's technology along with purely digital interventions -- doctors and patients have no face-to-face contact. McLean, meanwhile, is using the technology to reduce readmissions of hospital patients with schizophrenia. And as previously reported, UC Davis is using the technology to work with teens with psychotic illness.

UCSF and Duke University are both using the technology for post-operative recovery, and UCSF is also using it with heart patients (in its Health eHeart Study) and patients with multiple sclerosis. Duke's program helps surgeons identify the post-operative patients who need the most follow-up care.

Finally, the University of Nebraska is employing Ginger.io's passive monitoring to model and predict pain levels in patients with arthritis.

“The diversity of these deployments is what’s really exciting,” Dr. Ilan Elson, Head of Research and Development at Ginger.io, said in a statement. “We’re going into complex settings with different care delivery models and unique patient needs, and we’re still making a difference in relatively short order. It’s a testament to the strength and flexibility of our platform and our clinical approach."