For Immediate Release
Monday, February 28, 2011
Contact:
Ann C. Benner, NIH
301-594-4574

Christie Thoene, Qualcomm
858-651-5130

National Institutes of Health launches summer institute on mHealth

The National Institutes of Health today announced the creation of the first NIH mHealth, or mobile health, Summer Institute. Scheduled for the summer of 2011, this week-long workshop will bring together leaders in mobile health technologies, behavioral science researchers, federal health officials and members of the medical community to provide early career investigators with an opportunity to learn about mHealth research. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), part of NIH, partnered with Qualcomm, a developer of wireless technologies, to cosponsor the course.

Mobile technologies have the potential to transform medical research and enable health care providers to more rapidly and accurately assess biological processes, behavior, attitudes, and the environment. These technologies also allow providers to help patients improve their health in real time—enabling them to personalize health care options and monitor progress.

“NIH is committed to harnessing the power and reach of mobile technologies to extend healthy life and to reduce the burden of illness and disability,” explained Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Dr. Roderic Pettigrew.

Through the use of mobile applications and technology, mHealth solutions hold the promise of reducing costs and errors, removing geographical and economic disparities and personalizing health care. These technologies have helped to bring about a convergence of science, medicine, engineering and communications technologies to improve the quality and provision of health care, while striving to reduce costs and inefficiencies.

Wireless technologies allow patients with chronic diseases to monitor and manage their illnesses on a consistent basis. Remote monitoring allows health care providers to manage their patients’ medications, potentially reducing the frequency of hospital visits, and improving patient care. Today, wireless technologies enable everyday home-use medical devices to transfer information from blood glucometers, (a device used by diabetics to measure the amount of glucose in the blood) blood pressure cuff monitors, pulse oximeters, (a device used to monitor oxygen in a patient's blood) weight scales and medication adherence tools, into patient and electronic health records.

Medical device software that operate on smart phones such as diagnostic radiology applications, ultrasound imaging displays, patient vital signs data, live cardiac rhythm information and other waveform data, are increasingly being relied upon by physicians. In developing countries, mobile technology provides doctors who collaborate long-distance with community health workers the ability to accurately and efficiently diagnosis patients in rural villages without leaving the clinic.

NIH’s mHealth Summer Institute will provide an overview of the engineering, behavioral science and clinical aspects of wireless research and will facilitate interaction between participants and experts from across the mHealth spectrum. The institute will cover the current state of the science in mobile technology and engineering, behavior change theory and clinical applications, and will highlight the intersection of these areas for health-related research. Interdisciplinary teams of participants will develop potential mHealth research projects. To register, please visit: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/training_and_education/mhealth/index.aspx

“Qualcomm is committed to enhancing wireless health technologies and to furthering opportunities for advancing research in this critical area,” said Don Jones, vice president of Qualcomm Wireless Health. “We are proud to partner with NIH on the launch of the mHealth Summer Institute and believe it is an important step in realizing the promise of wireless health care technologies.”

Qualcomm Incorporated is a world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of wireless communications, connecting people more closely to information, entertainment and each other. Today, Qualcomm technologies are powering the convergence of mobile communications and consumer electronics, making wireless devices and services more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. For more information, visit Qualcomm around the Web: www.qualcomm.com External Web Site Policy.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) opened officially on July 1, 1995. The U.S. Congress established the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, NIH, in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The OBSSR mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these areas of research more fully into others of the NIH health research enterprise, thereby improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit http://obssr.od.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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