#newschallenge staff picks, part 2

From crowd-sourcing maternity care info to creating simple air-quality testing toolkits, the Knight News Challenge has some incredible ideas about how to improve health (including an awesome pitch to use human-sized bar-graphs to help visualize data). Lots of great stuff to choose from, here are OpenPlans’ top picks.

Picking Using Design and the Web to Improve Diabetes Monitoring, Andy says –

There are many apps already in existence that help those living with diabetes to keep track of their data. But our friends at Stamen have tons of data visualization experience. And they’re sure to design an engagingly usable interface for patients to record their info, with data exploration tools that are valuable to them and their doctors. If Stamen’s past work is any indication, this tool will be so visually enticing that people without diabetes will be jealous they don’t need to use it.

Picking OurHIA: A Health Impact Assessment Tool, Frank says –

Planning procedures like environmental impact assessments are supposed to bring community voices into the assessment of proposed projects, but in reality we get long, expensive, dense documents that take years to produce. A box checking exercise rather than actual public involvement. Can “health impact assessments” be different? Yes, with help from MAPC and friends. They’ve identified access to data and data tools as a barrier to greater understanding. Their goal? “Challenging existing power structures where data is the domain of the few”. Amen to that.

Picking HealthFeed: Taking action on your care, Kelly says –

Collecting health records across disparate providers/mediums and centralizing them into one place? That’s a holistic health plan. HealthFeed’s concept of creating a hub for health documents is crucial for an aging population working with paper records and the recent introduction of electronic health records. It’s especially appealing for millennials struggling to maintain their own fragmented medical records–now there’s an app for that.

Picking Private Results: An open-source STD test result delivery system for the communities that need it most, Aaron says –

An excellent, people-focused use of technology for an important challenge. I like the high regard for privacy, plainly worded test results, and actionable next steps — all at web scale.

And here’s Ellen’s pick, OkCopay.