(Photo courtesy Health Data Initiative Forum III (2012) by theIOM, on Flickr)
As Week Four of GigTank kicked off, one team was missing from the CO.LAB offices.
GigTank entrepreneur Andrew AbuMoussa and his teammates made their way to Washington, D.C. over the weekend. On Tuesday, they presented at the third annual Health Data Initiatives Forum, a public-private collaboration that encourages the development of apps to raise health awareness.
“They put out a request for presenters a couple of months ago, and around the start of GigTank, they told us that they wanted us on the main stage,” AbuMoussa said. “We’re hoping to meet some powerful people in the healthcare industry and start some meaningful conversations.”
AbuMoussa has a lot to talk about. He and his teammates have developed Corpora, a software product that uses Twitter status updates to determine the health of users in a particular geographic location. The real-time information they collect can be analyzed to gain insights into the spread of illness. The team hopes that their product will eventually be used to analyze other major data sources, such as public health records.
“With Corpora, we’re looking at data really fast and pulling up patterns,” AbuMoussa said. “Ultimately, we want to empower hospitals and big government with an understanding of the state of diseases.”
Currently a graduate student at the University of Rochester, AbuMoussa, 24, said his interest in healthcare began as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
In 2008, AbuMoussa had completed majors in applied math as well as computer science. He was planning to spend his summer in Egypt, where he was born, before studying abroad in France for the entirety of his senior year. But he changed his plans after hearing a presentation on the use of technology to empower the disabled.
AbuMoussa decided to stay in Chapel Hill and work on his thesis in that field. After graduating, he took a position as a software engineer with SimplyHome, which provides assistive technology to the aging and disabled population in an effort to promote their independence.
During his time with SimplyHome, AbuMoussa contributed his services to several high-profile projects, twice appearing on the television series “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
“On one episode, I went to Iowa for to help a blind mother of six,” AbuMoussa recalled. “She was a masseuse, and we provided software so that she could run her company without any requirement of sight.”
After leaving SimplyHome for grad school, AbuMoussa remained focused on the healthcare sphere and began developing Corpora. He said that he learned about the GigTank through Twitter and thinks it will be a solid platform as he continues to test his product and build a business model.
Over the course of the summer, the team hopes to cultivate relationships with healthcare businesses, such as private hospitals, to expand their sources of data. But they are still in the process of determining long-term goals.
“Because we have a strong vision, we’re taking time along the way to explore just where it could take us,” he said. “That’s the fun part.”
Watch Andrew AbuMoussa’s presentation below, at 1:07: