Interview with Jody Tversky – Sprout App
Jody Tversky is the co-founder and Managing Director of Med ART Studios, the company that owns Sprout App – Pregnancy Essentials the number one iPhone app for mums and dads to be. Laurence Turner is the owner and MD of Yogamoo™.
Could you please tell us about the company background, its staff and the genesis for the Sprout App?
Med ART Studios was created in 2009 by three individuals; Alex Romayev (lead programmer), Robert Kern (designer), and myself (medical content and promotions). Alex and I went to college together at Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts and we have stayed friends for years. Alex met Rob a few years ago while working on another iPhone related project. Our goal was to bring together a close nit group of experienced professionals and build on each of our strengths.We decided to work on an iPhone pregnancy app for several reasons. First, we are all Apple computer fans and each of us owns an iPhone. While we are considering rolling out our application to other platforms such as Droid and the iPad, our initial focus has been the iPhone and iPod touch. Concentrating our initial efforts on medical content made sense because of my own background as a physician. Alex and I had talked for several years about one-day joining forces to capitalise on his strengths as a programmer and my experience in the medical field. Rob was the final essential component to the team bringing with him years of experience in software design, graphics and user experience.
We wanted our first application to be a pregnancy related app because we all have young children (my youngest is 9 months old and is as sweet as can be). Rob has a 1-year-old daughter. We know that pregnancy brings with it an emotional roller coaster of excitement and concern. We examined the existing pregnancy related iPhone apps and were just not that impressed. We were confident that we could build a pregnancy app that was more useful and more elegant. We wanted to build a sleek iPhone app that would provide trustworthy pregnancy-related medical advice and a number of useful, exciting and engaging features. Nine months of intense development yielded our flagship app; Sprout – Pregnancy Essentials. We are proud to announce that Sprout is a big hit. Mums and dads to be tell us they just love the app.
What was it like to work a Team of Medical and Graphics experts during the development of the Application?
Development of a detailed and elegant iPhone application is an extensive process. It starts with a concept that gets passed back and forth and tested in focus groups for several months. Our Sprout focus group certainly included a number pregnant woman. Once the concept is solidified we begin to simultaneously design screens, program code, and collect content. My primary job is to write medical content and work with medical illustrators to generate text and anatomically accurate images. In recent months I’ve also taken on a role in promotions and corporate development.
It was essential that we build an app that was fun but also useful and delivered medically sound advice. We had the content reviewed by additional medical faculty and speciality doctors to ensure its accuracy. The text, images and tools (such as the contraction timer and weight tracker) were thoroughly tested. The graphic illustration team we contracted for our images are second to none. They provided forty high-quality fetal images that are exquisitely detailed and beautiful to look at. The illustrators also delivered some of the fetal imagery as fully dynamic 3-dimential renderings. This allowed us to provide the user with an experience that needs to be demonstrated to fully comprehend its dramatic impact.
Finally, Med ART Studios goes to great lengths to ensure that users in different countries are provided with medical recommendations that are appropriate and accurate to their region. For our recently introduced UK edition we worked with doctors from the Birmingham Women’s Hospital to thoroughly update the content for UK women. All this effort allows us to proudly announce Sprout as the definitive pregnancy application on the iPhone for mums and dads to be.
Could you please share anything when it comes to the Future of the application i.e. perhaps developments of any other practical tools you may want to include?
We have had a number of requests for additional functions to be added to Sprout. Soon after we launched the app, women wrote to us asking that we included a tool that allows the user to organise their doctor visits by date. We also added a feature that allows the user to build questions and a list of pregnancy related symptoms to discuss with their doctor. We are currently developing even more functions into the app. Your readers will have to stay tuned to see what exciting features lay ahead.
We are also excited to announce that we have begun development of a second entirely new app that will offer something never before seen on any application currently available on the market.
Would you have any comments on your views about Prenatal Yoga?
I currently focus my practice on clinical immunology and research. Most of the pregnant women I see are referred to me for unique or unusual conditions. In many cases their complaint has little to do with the pregnancy itself.
That said, I can say that during my 10 years of practice I have seen a growing trend towards natural and Eastern medical practices in general. The medical community is slowly starting to understand that modern medical treatments modalities are not always at odds with traditional practices. In many cases, they are complimentary to each other. As long as we keep an open-minded approach and evaluate safety and efficacy with quality evidence, many alternative methods may be seamlessly integrated into modern medical practice. Techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, and biofeedback have not only been shown to be safe but in some cases have had clearly beneficial effects. Yoga is certainly one prime example of a traditional technique that can contribute to overall good health and has the potential to compliment modern medical management in many cases. I advocate yoga to many of my patients. I think what your team is doing at www.yogamoo.com is very exciting.
While some traditional medical approaches have been shown to be clearly unhelpful or even harmful, many more have been proven to be safe and effective. The large majority of alternative techniques that have re-emerged have occurred to fill a needed void. The fact that many of our patients have moved to traditional practices reminds us that Western medicine does not always have all the answers. As more medical practitioners embrace this fact, the better we will be at delivering comprehensive treatment and more empathetic care.
What are the general trends in America today in the labour wards (i.e. rates of natural birth v.s. medicalised v.s. emergency ?)
As I mentioned previously, most of my current patients are special immunology and allergy cases. I do not have expert knowledge to define exact birthing practice statistics. I can say from examining recent data obtained from the National Institute of Health that hospital-based births are still very much the majority here in the United States. In some urban areas, up to 30% of deliveries are performed via caesarian section. The World Health Organization currently recommends that no more than 10% of births should be performed via caesarian. I will not make a specific recommendation about what birthing technique is best. This is a personal decision that needs to be carefully weighed by patient, family and their doctor or midwife. Choices range from hospital delivery or midwife birthing centre to home water birth.
Would yourself or your partner be happy to add any personal comments perhaps from your personal beliefs and experience about birthing?
I am happy to share one interesting story of ours. My partner and I celebrated the birth of our first child just nine months ago. I had come home one day to ask how my partner was doing in her 34th week of pregnancy. She told me that she was feeling well overall despite having some indigestion that was bothering her all day. When I asked her when she was feeling this ingestion she responded, “about every ten minutes or so”. We live in Manhattan and were only two blocks away from the hospital. We, therefore, decided to walk for 5 minutes and get fully evaluated. It’s a good thing we did because when we arrived she was fully dilated and ready to deliver. I barely had time to sign paperwork before she went into active labour. Despite my own medical expertise, I was unable to change the fact that every woman has a unique experience of her own.
For more information about Sprout – Pregnancy Essentials iPhone application visit www.sprout-app.com or visit the Sprout community on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sprout-Pregnancy-Essentials-for-the-iPhone/109598552410467
Jody R. Tversky, M.D.
Med ART Studios, LLC
14 Andover Avenue
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Phone (212) 659-9246