Forbes’ Technology Innovator Pushes for Healthier Decision-Making with App Development Tool

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Sending texts or snapping photos on your mobile device may not seem like a clear path to tighter abs, more sleep or a balanced diet, but researchers in the Georgia Tech GVU Center are aiming to change that with a software development tool for health-based applications.

Eugene Medynskiy, a Ph.D. candidate in Human-Computer Interaction and recently named to Forbes’ Magazine’s list of 30 Under 30 in Technology, led the research to design and build the technology that allows people to use their personal health data to track their habits and reach self-defined goals.

The open-source software, called Salud!, supports app developers for mobile devices and traditional PCs in creating apps that measure any health metric from calorie intake and exercise regimen to helping those with long-term illnesses. Salud! has been applied in personal training and fitness programs and Medynskiy is working to transfer some of the outcomes of the research into patient-oriented systems for individuals living with chronic diseases.

“The technology is designed to make available and then leverage a lot of data,” Medynskiy says. “But tracking data is only a precursor to the more important practice of health self-management.”

Applied broadly, health self-management includes what we do everyday – how much sleep we get, what we pick to eat, and whether or not we go to the gym.

“We’re consciously making small decisions that will lead to larger health outcomes down the road,” says Medynskiy.

The 28-year-old was deliberate in his approach to allow apps built with Salud! to measure a wide range of data in a user’s everyday experience. To show the possibilities of this design, Medynskiy and the research team created the Salud! app (on top of the Salud! parent tool), which makes recording health information as simple as posting to Facebook.

With the Salud! app, users create Logbooks and fill in any type of data, such as a photo of their meal, details on migraine duration, energy levels or exercise routines to name a few. The app compiles the data with easy-to-use analytics tools to identify trends and then structures activities to achieve the user’s goals.

People need incentives to use technology, says Medynskiy, something he learned through the time he logged at Adobe Systems - studying the usability of website navigation and interfaces - and two Google internships, the most recent spent researching the usage of Google Maps on Mobile.

Medynskiy’s lead role in the Salud! project eventually prepared him to become the co-founder of an Atlanta startup, Usable Health, where he has shifted his focus from collecting data on all things health-related to enabling restaurant diners to make smarter entrée selections.

“Data that’s inherent to nutritional choices is everywhere, but even if all the nutrition information is in front of you, how do you go about making a selection?” Medynskiy asks.

Usable Health’s Smartmenu provides an answer to that question by offering diners an electronic touchscreen menu that can display healthy selections and provide information on menu items based on what’s important to the patron.

Medynskiy manages the software development process, overseeing infrastructure rollout and integrating payment processing. Smartmenus have sprung up in several Atlanta locations, most notably the Tin Drum chain, as well as other regions.

Despite holding an executive title in a successful startup and being named to Forbes’ elite group of technology innovators, Medynskiy’s focus hasn’t changed.

“There’s still a lot of room for growth out there to help people use technology to lead healthier lives,” says Medynskiy.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Joshua Preston
  • Created:03/28/2012
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016


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