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Grant funds smartphone management of noncommunicable diseases in resource-limited settings


INDIANAPOLIS — A grant from the Medtronic Foundation will fund the development, implementation and evaluation of a secure, smartphone-based mobile platform to facilitate the treatment of noncommunicable diseases in resource-limited environments.

The new mobile platform will initially be used by health care workers for home-based and clinic visits, targeted revisits and mobile-based counseling guided by computer-generated alerts.  Additionally, it will help provide continuous medical education and mobile tele-consultation services for diabetes and hypertension. The technology will be freely available and integrated into AMRS, the electronic medical record system serving 500,000 individuals within the western Kenya catchment area of the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, or AMPATH.

“The mHealth applications we develop, which will fall under the umbrella name of mUzima — uzima is Swahili for life — will go a long way in helping realize secure and interoperable mHealth solutions to improve care and strengthen the health care system. We thank Medtronic Foundation for helping lead the effort to improve use of mHealth technologies for noncommunicable diseases in resource-limited settings,” said Regenstrief Institute investigator Martin C. Were, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, who leads the new mobile health project.

Dr. Were is AMPATH’s chief medical information officer. He was named one of the mHealth Alliance and Rockefeller Foundation’s Top 11 in 2011 mHealth Innovators for his work in mobile technologies for health care workers in resource-limited environments. He is also a Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program Scholar of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

AMPATH is a global consortium of university-based academic centers, joined with Kenya’s ministry of health, to deliver health services, conduct health research and develop leaders in health care. AMPATH serves a population of 3.5 million people in western Kenya and was initially established as a joint effort of Indiana University and its North American partners with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to control the HIV pandemic. More recently, AMPATH has been expanding its scope in an effort to control the emerging challenge of noncommunicable diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental illnesses.  

The Regenstrief Institute is a distinguished medical research organization dedicated to improving the quality of health care. Regenstrief is the home of internationally recognized centers of excellence in biomedical and public health informatics, aging research, health services and health systems research and health care effectiveness research. Institute investigators are faculty members of the IU School of Medicine, other schools at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, or Purdue University.