INDIANAPOLIS - A new app developed in Indiana is designed to help Hoosiers create more healthy habits. Life EXTEND is the result of a partnership between Indianapolis-based tech startup LifeOmic and the statewide Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. The app seeks to "gamify" users' experiences in tracking their health behaviors and provides a social network.

In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta, Indiana CTSI Founding Director Anantha Shekhar said the app also provides information on clinical trials being done in Indiana.

"On an average year, we have about 1,600 clinical research projects that are going on here in all areas from diabetes to cancer to children's diseases," said Shekhar. "So we would like people to know about them, participate them, as well as learn about all the opportunities here. I think clinical trials (are) a way to actually access cutting-edge treatments that are no-cost treatments as well for various life-threatening illnesses."

Tom Barber, chief scientific officer at LifeOmic, says Life EXTEND stands out from other health and wellness apps in four key areas: Content, Socialization, Gamification, and Data Integration.

"In terms of the content, the principles that are involved there are based in strong science and medical practice and validation," said Barber. "In socialization, we employ the same types of techniques that are used with Facebook friends, for example, so that individuals can create circles within their own network or join other circles of family or friends and that helps motivate them and encourage them to engage in those practices. (In) gamificiation, when an individual does a healthy behavior...they get points for that; they're rewarded and people are competitive by nature and they like to see progress. (In) data integration, the app itself is integrated fully into our precision health cloud platform and that allows other information, clinical data, genomic data, to be brought together to customize that content for those users."

Shekhar says using social media and apps is an ideal way to connect with people, which is why the project led to the creation of the app. 

You can read more about the Life EXTEND app from this month's Life Sciences INdiana e-newsletter by clicking here.