NIH, its foundation put their money where their mouths are

As we briefly touched on last week, the National Institutes of Health plans on awarding 150 grants for mobile health IT projects this year. Healthcare IT News fills in some more details from last week's second annual mHealth Summit.

"The research will include the use of mobile phones, telehealth and GPS," NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins explained during his opening keynote address to the conference, which attracted more than 2,600 people to Washington, D.C. (We don't have to attribute that quote to Healthcare IT News because we were there and heard the same speech.")

Collins noted that some of the grants already are supporting active studies. Arizona State University is testing how a wearable chemical sensor can help measure personal exposure to hydrocarbons, while UCLA is finding applications for a lensless microscope connected to a smartphone to help identify public-health outbreaks in areas with limited healthcare resources. "I hope you get the sense of NIH's commitment to this, which is really quite wide and deep," Collins said.

The NIH's private, nonprofit affiliate, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health--which organized the mHealth Summit--also touted third-party funding for mobile healthcare. "I'm not a scientist, but I know that science, technology, innovation and research is where America leads the world," FNIH acting chair John Porter said, according to Healthcare IT News. "Science must receive funding support to help grow our economy and give us high-paying and high-tech jobs."

The foundation's CEO and executive director, Scott Campbell, cautioned that m-health still is a nascent field. "We're in the proof-of-concept phase and pilot project phase. We will get there eventually. The devil's in the details, and how long 'eventually' is remains a source of discussion," Campbell said.

To learn more:
- check out this Healthcare IT News story