Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NIH: “Looking at the Potential of mHealth to Solve Long-standing Problems”

December 6th, 2011 / in conference reports, policy, research horizons / by Erwin Gianchandani

2011 mHealth SummitOver 3,600 officials spanning government, industry, and academia are gathered at the third annual mHealth Summit just outside Washington, DC, this week, “to advance collaboration in the use of wireless technology to improve health outcomes in the U.S. and abroad.”

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius kicked off the conference on Monday morning, emphasizing the game-changing aspects of mobile health technology to improve clinical outcomes, promote preventative medicine, and reduce wasteful spending and healthcare costs. Sebelius noted that mobile healthcare technology is gaining added significance — and issued a call to arms to support innovation in mobile medical devices.

“This is an incredible time to be having this conversation,” she said. “[The federal government] can play a critical role as a catalyst.”

And timed to coincide with the mHealth Summit, two NIH officials — Wendy Nilsen, a Health Science Administrator in the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), and William Riley, a Program Director at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute — are out with an article describing NIH’s efforts in mHealth (after the jump):

Mobile and wireless health (mHealth) is a nascent and rapidly growing field. These technologies provide the potential to advance research, prevent disease, enhance diagnostics, improve treatment, reduce disparities, increase access to health services and lower healthcare costs in ways previously unimaginable.


Real-time, continuous biological, behavioral and environmental data collected by wireless and mobile technologies will improve our understanding of the etiology of health and disease, particularly when integrated with data from areas such as genomics, biomarkers and electronic medical records. In line with the NIH mission, these data can help in answering the difficult questions about the relationship between genetic contributions and environmental factors in health and disease and the developmental origins of adult disease, as well as informing the development of treatments and prevention programs that are preemptive, personalized and adaptive over time.


NIH also recognizes that a major opportunity also arises from the potential of mobile and wireless health technologies to continuously monitor chronic medical conditions around the world, as well as to implement disease management plans that capitalize on this expanded information. Chronic disease conditions have been recognized in the developed world as a major source of morbidity and mortality. Similarly, in the low- and middle-income countries, chronic disease is increasingly being cited as an emerging problem and a major component of disease burden.


NIH is aware of the need for rigorous mHealth research that examines the potential, as well as the challenges, of harnessing mobile technologies to improve global health outcomes. NIH encourages both the technology developers and the researchers to start with problems that demand solving, so that the field is needs-driven, rather than product-driven.


With its potential for providing low-cost, high quality data to enhance health research and improve health outcomes around the world, mobile/wireless health is of growing interest to the NIH, especially since many of these technologies apply to multiple diseases and conditions.

For more, check out the original article as well as the mHealth Summit website.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

NIH:  “Looking at the Potential of mHealth to Solve Long-standing Problems”