We’ve got a health data hangover.
Now that the “quantified self” wave is breaking, many of us are left wondering what to do with all the random bits of steps, sleep, body mass, GPS, and heart rate data left scattered across our various apps and devices. The answer might be in a new app that uses quizzes to engage people around their health and wellness.
Serial entrepreneur Munjal Shah (Riya, Like.com) thinks collecting all those biometrics numbers with our wearable devices might not be the best way to reach the real goal of developing a mindfulness of our health that might cause us to make better choices every day.
Instead of knowing my heart rate after I drink a Red Bull and eat some Cap’n Crunch for breakfast, maybe it would help me more to know how my pancreas and liver will react to such an assault — what would happen biochemically inside my body. If I knew that I might make a better choice next time.
I played with it for a couple of nights and found it to be quite addictive. The questions aren’t what you’d expect. You won’t see the usual “How many times a week do you exercise?” fare. They’re smarter — and a little sneakier. The questions try to get at your real knowledge by asking you for answers you would only know if you were well-versed in a health subject.
The quizzes score you on how many multiple choice questions you get right and how long it takes you to answer. After each question, regardless of whether your answer was right or wrong, the app gives you further information around the right answer.
The (free) app (iPhone and iPad only right now) includes more than 10,000 experiential questions across 300 unique topic areas, certified by more than 30 experts from various fields of medicine, nutrition, and exercise, Shah says.
The questions have been tested on 250,000 individuals to find out what parts of a person’s health knowledge are most important to long-term health. Those are worth more points in the quizzes.
Hi.Q’s testing also revealed that only 21 percent of Americans had sufficient knowledge to take control of their health. There’s also plenty of research to suggest that the more knowledgable a person is about their health, the more likely they are to stay healthy.
Shah’s research concludes that people with high health IQs are 50 percent less likely to have gone to the hospital in the last year and have a lower chance of obesity than those with lower health IQ scores.
“The last hundred years were spent increasing the linguistic literacy of the world — our challenge now is to increase the world’s health literacy in the next century, and the Hi.Q assessment is the first step in reaching that goal,” Shah said.
Shah suffered a health scare at the age of 37, which inspired him to improve his own health. “I realized that the first step is not to just go and count your steps, but rather to gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage your own health,” he said.
The questions in the Hi.Q assessment are written by researchers employed by the company, then reviewed and certified by expert nutritionists, doctors, dietitians, yogis, organic farmers, chefs, professional athletes, and other experts.
Hi.Q’s panel includes the Director of Cardiology at Beth Israel, a Professor of Nutrition from UNC, physicians from Harvard Medical School, a former NFL player, a dietician from Stanford, and an Orthopedic Surgeon for the U.S. Olympic Team, for example.
Mountain View, California-based Hi.Q was founded in 2013. The company is backed by Charles River Ventures, First Round Capital, Greylock Partners, Menlo Ventures, Rock Health, and Western Technology Investments.