Event sponsor Archetype Solutions Group prompted us to try to motivate people to be healthy now— to reduce healthcare costs in the future— and to increase communication between doctors and patients. We wanted to make a product that didn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or technology (or even necessarily a computer or smartphone) to use. That way, our product would be useful for and accessible to as many people as possible, which we felt was particularly important when creating a project relating to health care.

What it does

HealthyTexts is a text-messaging service that sends users daily queries via text about their health goals (for example, “how many miles did you run today?”). Not only does it remind users to stay healthy, it saves their responses to the questions and uses the data to create graphical visuals of their progress both for themselves and for their doctors. HealthyTexts is an alternative to smartphone fitness apps for people without access to expensive technology.

Challenges we ran into

Our first attempt to set up Twilio was rough. Because we were inexperienced using that sort of API, we used the tutorials as a main guide to make it work. They relied on much more complex web framework and database infrastructure than we needed for the rest of our project and assumed more baseline knowledge than we had on the subject. We sunk a fair amount of time into trying to make that system work before realizing that we could avoid many of the technical challenges we were facing by approaching the setup in a different, simpler way.

What’s next for HealthyTexts

We would like to increase flexibility in the types of answers users can give to questions (further than numeric and boolean), as well as flexibility in the number of questions and scheduling of questions, and add a feature so users can email their graphical progress summaries to themselves and/or their doctors with just a text.

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