Bonnie Cha

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Orca Health Pumps Harvard Medical School Content Into HeartDecide App

In an effort to augment its medical and health care apps, Orca Health announced today that it has partnered with Harvard Medical School to bring more content to its products, starting with a revamped HeartDecide app.


HeartDecide now features text, art and video content from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School. First launched six months ago, HeartDecide offers an interactive 3-D model of the heart to help users — mostly patients — better understand how the heart works, and how it is affected by various conditions and procedures.

In addition to the updated app, the companies also released four interactive iBooks today on how to cope with various heart conditions like angina, atrial fibrillation and mitral valve prolapse.

The books cost $4.99 each, while the HeartDecide app is free. All are available now from the iTunes store.

Orca Health and Harvard Medical School have been working on the project for about six months. Previously, 11 board-certified physicians were in charge of the content and accuracy of Orca’s apps, but after being introduced to a contact at Harvard Medical School, Orca Health co-founder and CEO Matt Berry said teaming up with the university was a natural fit.


For Harvard, the partnership has allowed the school to enter the mobile space and make information available beyond traditional paper publications and Web sites.

“I profoundly believe that when people understand more, you can prevent a lot of diseases and make things better,” said Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and editor in chief of Harvard Health Publications, in a phone interview. “The opportunity to improve health is enormous, and smartphones and the mobile frontier can help enable that.”

Berry added, “Today, if you were go into a physician’s office and be diagnosed with some condition, you’d be given a pamphlet or forced to go read about a condition online. We want to provide incredible content to teach you about your condition and treatment in a more interactive way. Patient education is so vital for people and their families.”

The companies plan to roll out more content to Orca’s 11 other apps, including EyeDecide and SpineDecide, throughout the year. Currently, the apps are available only on iOS devices, with Android versions being a possibility in the future.

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