It’s time for those of us working in health tech to power up—and use our health tech muscle to make a real and lasting difference in young people’s lives.
In video games, power ups restore game characters’ health, increase their strength, shield them from damage, give them special abilities, and help them beat the odds. In health tech, power ups can help us find winning solutions for improving young people’s health and wellness.
Power Ups for Youth Health Tech:
- Data-Driven (+1 Power Up) – Data can inform new research and spark insights, and well-visualized data can transform perceptions and change behavior. Young people prefer when information is shown, rather than stated. Use data visualizations to help young people understand how they fit into the big picture.
- Connected (+1) – Health tech cannot be tied down by time, place, or even platform. A safe, connected, networked, multi-platform mindset should be our default.
- Agile (+5) – We need to learn quickly what works, keep what does, and discard what doesn’t. You only get one chance with young people, so you’d better make it good.
- Innovative (+10) – At its best, health tech will be creative and even disruptive. Let’s focus on radically accelerating and scaling our best solutions.
- Authentic (+25) – Trust is the most indispensable currency for dealing with youth. Period.
- User-Centered (+100) – The digital divide has narrowed but still persists, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. Let’s equip youth in these communities and beyond with the tools, capacity, and mentoring they need to create smarter health tech for themselves and the world. As the teenage Intel ISEF winner, Jack Andraka, said, “It’s not just me. Kids can do anything with Google and Wikipedia at their fingertips.”
YTH is powering up by embracing participatory health tech, where youth are not limited to being seen as a market for new health tech tools, but are instead welcomed as creators of their own health future.
Join us by exploring these themes and others at YTH Live 2014, our annual conference on tech innovation for youth health and wellness. Your voice and imagination are critical to building a healthier future for the next generation.
Jamia Wilson is the new executive director of YTH and Deb Levine is YTH’s founder and president. YTH is the partner of choice for companies and organizations in search of new ways to use technology to advance the health and wellness of youth and young adults, and other vulnerable communities.
See Deb moderate a panel on using mHealth to engage and empower youth on December 10, 2013 at the mHealth Summit.