What’s Shimmer? The First Open-Source Health Data Integration Tool

By David Haddad on September 24, 2015 - Sign up for free updates here

A couple of years ago, we saw a need in the market to help make it easier for developers to use digital health data in their products and services. 

Startups, clinical researchers, and health services are increasingly wanting to integrate this new kind of data to help provide more context to their user’s health behavior. Some companies are capitalizing on this market-need by providing managed services to access digital health data.

Thousands of dollars per month. That’s what it costs to use these proprietary aggregator solutions.

I’d ask you to consider this: “why should you have to pay for access when that data is already free?”

Today we are excited to announce a revolutionary transformation on health data access with our latest product, Shimmer. Shimmer unlocks access to digital health data like never before.

As part of Shimmer’s first major release, we are supporting the following best-in-breed integrations:

And the following integrations are in the pipeline:

The economics of Shimmer are simple. It’s free.

You might be saying to yourself, “‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And you’re right. You’ll have to spend some of your engineering time to get setup and manage your digital health pipeline. But you’ll have to spend that time regardless–even if you use the proprietary aggregators. We think that if this data is already free to access (obviously there are caveats and largely depends on the apps and device services terms and conditions) you should reap the benefits. Shimmer does not take a cut.

Shimmer is open-source.

We’ve open-sourced the entire codebase of Shimmer (under the Apache 2.0 license) so that you can not only audit how we’re mapping data from disparate APIs to our common clinically-valid schema language, but you can add any changes you want and customize Shimmer to your product’s needs.

Say you want to add a new integration for a new tracker, but we don’t support it. You don’t need to wait for us. You can roll up your sleeves and start coding away to make your new integration work for your system. If you think the rest of the world should benefit from this new integration, you can contribute back to the community and we will rigorously test to make sure it can be part of the next release.

With Shimmer being open-source, you benefit from a community of developers and clinical data scientists from around the world wanting to make Shimmer (as well as the other Open mHealth offerings) better for everyone else. 

Host it anywhere.

Just because Shimmer is free doesn’t mean it should be hard to use. We spent a lot of time trying to make it quick to deploy on any hosting platform of your choice (e.g. Google Cloud, AWS and more). Read the full installation notes for yourself on Github, but as you’ll see it only takes a few commands to get things up and running locally or in the cloud.

In the upcoming months, we plan on announcing some partnerships with different HIPAA-compliant cloud providers to make using Shimmer even easier. 

Start integrating digital health data today.  

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