Logo: University of Southern California

February 3, 2015: First Mobile App to Share Heart Rate with a Photo Empowers Consumers to Take Charge of Their Personal Health Management

Press Release
Contact: Meg Aldrich - 626-825-0309 or Meg.Aldrich@med.usc.edu
February 05, 2015 —


Heart health goes mobile and social with the release of BioGram, a new mobile app created by the cardiologist experts at the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Body Computing (CBC) along with collaborators at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and private companies AliveCor and Medable. The free app, the first to allow heart rates to be shared with a photo, is available now for download on iTunes.

BioGram works by stamping heart rates onto photos that can be posted to Facebook and other social media. The user’s heart rate is recorded from AliveCor’s Heart Monitor, a portable heart rate monitor built into a smartphone case that records, displays, stores and transfers electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythms wirelessly. For those without an ECG reader, heart rates can be input manually or from another sensor.

“The convergence of health, technology and mobile digital devices is allowing us all to become smart patients,” said Leslie A. Saxon, M.D., executive director of the USC CBC and the co-inventor of Biogram. “Now millions of people can add biostatistical information to existing photo-sharing social media activities, and while it provides insightful data that is emotional, aesthetic and informative, it also makes health education more entertaining.”

Students from USC Viterbi School of Engineering provided coding for the app, under the direction of faculty member Trina Gregory. USC CBC was responsible for development and design on the project and medical-based app-development company Medable provided HIPAA-compliant services while AliveCor hardware records the actual heart rates.

“The BioGram app was especially inspiring for USC engineering students because of the greater purpose and value it brings to the consumer. We enjoy collaborating on cross-disciplinary projects with Dr. Saxon and the CBC, and have for many years. The fact BioGram is available on iTunes already shows the students how classroom knowledge translates into real-life projects quickly,” explained Trina Gregory, faculty member with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Michelle Longmire, M.D. and CEO of Medable explains, “Our platform allows patients using BioGram to securely share their biostats with whom they want – either widely on social media or directly with their doctor. It’s exciting to work with USC on a big data project where we can learn so much about the human body.” 

Biogram is compatible with HealthKit, a new feature that came with Apple’s iOS 8 update.

About the USC Center for Body Computing
The USC Center for Body Computing is an independent digital health innovation center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Founded by Leslie Saxon, an international digital health guru and trained USC cardiologist who has spoken at TEDMED, SXSW and WIRED international conferences, the USC CBC mission is to function as a brain trust with collaborators and innovators to study, accelerate and create digital health solutions. Designers, engineers, inventors, strategists, investors and visionaries from the health care, entertainment and technology sectors come together to fulfill Saxon’s promise to make consumers “the heroes of their own health stories.” For more information about the USC Center for Body Computing, go to http://www.uscbodycomputing.org

About the USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift in 2004 from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm now key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. Consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in the world, the school enrolls more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students, taught by 180 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships. http://viterbi.usc.edu/

About Keck Medicine of USC
Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical excellence, the medical system attracts internationally renowned experts who teach and practice at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the region’s first medical school; includes the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States; has a medical faculty practice, the USC Care Medical Group; operates the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 401-licensed bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-licensed bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and owns USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-licensed bed community hospital. It also includes more than 40 outpatient facilities, some at affiliated hospitals, in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties. U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck Medical Center of USC among the Top 10 in ophthalmology (No. 9), and among the Top 25 hospitals in the United States for urology (No. 20) and cancer care (No. 23). The medical center was also awarded an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group in March, representing outstanding patient safety practices and overall patient outcomes. For more information, go to www.keckmedicine.org/beyond

Meg Aldrich - 626-825-0309 or Meg.Aldrich@med.usc.edu