Summer 2017: Clarity

Improving upon self-reported lifestyle tracking with automated data collection
Andy Rapoport

Andy Rapoport, UChicago Alumnus

George Abitante

George Abitante, UChicago Alumnus

What’s Clarity?

An app that automatically pulls data from a personalized set of lifestyle apps to record behavior and check for signs of depression, which can then be assessed and discussed with a mental health professional.

The Problem

Clinical Depression is characterized by deep sadness. Patients may feel deeply sad and helpless, sleep excessively, speak slowly, and take no interest in activities that they normally enjoy.

A Solution

By pulling data from apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, we can attain a more detailed and informative understanding of mood than with self-report alone. Our app will allow clinicians to send a diagnostic form to patients and receive feedback, allowing for real-time assessments of mood, rather than potentially inaccurate summaries of recent experiences. Finally, we will monitor overall use of apps to evaluate systematic variations in time spent on them, which will enable us to observe mood shifts that may not be apparent at the level of individual app use.

More specifically, the app would use an API to take data from such services as: Facebook (likes and posts), Facebook Messenger (active threads), Twitter (timeline of tweets), Instagram (recent media and likes), Gmail (unread and sent messages), and HealthKit/Google Fit (sleep patterning and/or activity). Additionally, if possible, we will track overall app use to observe systematic variation in time spent on social media apps, like the app, Moment, has done.

About Andy and George

Andy is a 2016 graduate of the University of Chicago, with a B.A. with honors in Public Policy (having specialized in Health Policy) and a B.S. in Biological Sciences (having specialized in Neuroscience). He is currently the Operations Manager at ExplORer Surgical, a healthcare technology start-up founded by a University of Chicago surgeon and Booth Business School graduate. He aims to one day become a physician while working to also solve larger-scale problems in healthcare that cannot be addressed solely within the bounds of the patient/physician relationship.

George graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 with a B.A. with honors in Psychology. He is passionate about mental health, and is applying to PhD programs in Clinical Psychology to study and treat anxiety disorders.

How does the App Challenge help with this great idea?

App Challenge developers will build a research-ready iOS app capable of pulling multiple streams of behavioral data into one place.

How does this support UChicago's research mission?

Our app will provide a less disruptive, more accurate way to diagnose Depression, which is both a research effort for UChicago clinicians and ultimately a potent tool for teaching how to recognize, track, and manage the illness.