Seattle-area company One Item is working with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to support a study of a rural community in Arkansas at risk of poor heart health.
The UAMS Heart Healthy Communities initiative aims to reduce health outcome inequality in rural Arkansas through studying a target population with historically poor health outcomes. The app is used in combination with other efforts, such as linking people with social services and medical providers.
Founded in 2016, One Item has been working with UAMS for about two years and recently announced that the study has expanded to enroll more people, aiming for more than 200 subjects.
The startup’s Health Science Index app is a cornerstone of the study, said principal investigator Irion Pursell, director of cardiovascular disease primary prevention at UAMS. The app helps participants prioritize areas for improvement in their health and lifestyle.
“Improving quality and duration of life starts with a client’s willingness to include wellness-seeking behaviors in their daily routine,” Pursell told GeekWire. “The app facilitates wellness by prioritizing specific areas for action and providing content on particular activities a client can include in their daily routine.”
The app identifies key focus areas through a survey that asks questions about exercise, sleep, water intake, nutrition and other factors. One Item provides daily reminders about focus areas, enables connections with friends on the app, and links to educational materials. The app also scores users on their progress and provides a dashboard to help them monitor it.
The app will also be used to help identify people at risk of premature death in the study population.
The study is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which has shown interest in potentially expanding the use of the app to other counties if the UAMS initiative shows a benefit, said Pursell.
One Item is led by CEO and co-founder Erik Knutsen, who was previously CEO of Bellevue, Wash.-based business consulting services company Design Laboratory, and is a former senior project manager at Microsoft. The company’s co-founder and CTO is Brian Williams, former CEO of California Vision who is based in San Diego.
The company also offers a consumer-facing version of the app, called “Better Now” which can be used to help people identify and improve key focus areas in different facets of life, such as fitness and wellness, wellbeing and happiness, and relationships.