Friday, August 27, 2010

mHealth App Review: Medtronic's "Carb Counting with Lenny"

By Ross Fetterolf, SVP of Brand Strategy and Innovation at Ignite Health (@digitalbulldog)

This competitive review focuses on the newly released “Carb Counting with Lenny” mobile application from Medtronic that is advertised as “the app that teaches kids carb counting.” This application seek to teach users to count carbs in a fun and easy way though simple pictures and interactive games, and has a variety of features and best-in-class mobile approaches that should be considered if/when we choose to enter into the application development space.


Terms of use

  • Terms must be approved before the first usage and include language that this app is for “entertainment and educational purposes only, not for medical advice, opinion or decision-making,” a number of caveats about the source of the carb data and a recommendation that users consult additional sources as necessary, and a statement that absolves Medtronic of any responsibility for information input into this tool or decisions made based on this information

Food Guide

  • Users click through images within a simple food library to learn the number of carbs per serving. They are also provided the ability to add a food item (via picture taken on their phone), input the number of carbs per serving, and access this from their food library when they return to the application

Carb Games

  • The current version of the app includes 4 carb games (Carb or no Carb?, Compare the Carbs, Guess the Carbs, and Build a Meal), but the only one available to play is “Carb or no Carb” in which users quickly tap the screen to determine if a food item has carbs or not. The other three games are locked but will likely be unlocked over time

Carb Contest

  • They are sponsoring “Lenny Contests” that allow users to complete each week to win prizes ($25 gift card) for registering the top score on the games (fingers crossed that 135 on Carb or No Carb? holds up). You can learn more about this contest via the web by clicking here:


  • A simple registration feature collects name, e-mail address and referral source and allows users to opt-in for “informative tools and messages for living a healthier life, participation in contests or promotions, recording carb counting game scores, receiving promotional materials that may be of interest, and receiving updates on the application.” Note that they also include language that users under the age of 18 need to get the approval of their parents before registering

Contact Us

  • Generates an auto-e-mail to Medtronic with the subject “Lenny App Feedback” utilizing the users preferred mobile e-mail account

What Lenny Does Well:
  • Best-in-class terms of use, registration and "contact us' approaches that demonstrate a "Pharma friendly" understanding of the mobile phone experience that distills information down to its essence
  • Design, functionality and friendly user-experience that make the app engaging and simple for the user
  • Creation of a personalized experience that will drive users to return to the application through the "add a food" and carb games with accompanying contest features
Making Lenny Even Better:
  • The food guide feature is basic and while educational, doesn't allow the user to interact based on the foods they have consumed. They could add a feature that lets users calculate the number of carbs in a meal that could prove helpful and further contribute to users returning to the app to log their info
  • While the game-play portion of this app nails some key aspects (intuitive game play, timed experience), it doesn't provide the ability to share results (through e-mail or social media outlets) which are a staple of mobile game play
FINAL RATING: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

Overall this is a very impressive contribution to the diabetes mobile application space from Medtronic that leaves lots of room for expansion. They have succeeded in delivering on the first rule of mobile app development: Create an application that users will download and continue to find useful

But don't take our word for it - we'd like to hear your thoughts on "Carb Counting with Lenny", especially if you've taken some time to interact with the app or are a patient or carevgiver with diabetes. Drop us a line in the comments - we'd be thrilled to hear your feedback. Stay tuned for more mHealth app reviews as we continue to scour the space for the best (and worst) of what's out there.

Also, check out medGadget's review of the app, which includes screenshots, comments from a company rep, and a video demonstration.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New insurance finder web tool simplifies the process of searching for health coverage


WASHINGTON, DC- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the release of a new web tool available for download that makes searching for coverage options even easier than before.

“ is a valuable resource for small businesses, consumers, and their families to search for coverage options and understand the new benefits under the Affordable Care Act,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “By putting the power of information at your fingertips, is helping American families everywhere to take control over their health care and make the choices that are right for them.”

The Insurance Finder “widget” enables anyone with a website or blog to embed a tool on their site allowing users to begin the process of searching for coverage options. The tool asks users two initial questions: “select a state” and “which best describes you.” Users then click on “next steps,” and are redirected to a page on that continues with the insurance finder process based on answers to their specific questions.

To view the widget and the embed code, visit this page: allows consumers to search for both public and private health coverage options through an easy to use health insurance finder tool. Based on answers to a series of questions, the coverage finder produces a menu of potential coverage choices personalized for the user.
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