Open mHealth lead technology partner on $10.8 million NIH grant to develop digital health data analytics for assessing disease risk

By Ida Sim on October 9, 2014 - Sign up for free updates here

Open mHealth is proud to be a lead technology partner on a team of top computer scientists, data scientists, engineering and health experts that has been awarded a $10.8M National Institute of Health (NIH) grant. The grant will fund the creation of a ‘Mobile Data to Knowledge (‘MD2K’) Center of Excellence’, 1 of 12 new NIH ‘Big Data to Knowledge’ (BD2K) National Centers of Excellence. The wider BD2K initiative aims to advance the use of big data technologies and practice by biomedical scientists to enable new discoveries that can improve medical practice. The collective ‘MD2K’ team is made up of individuals from 11 Universities across the US, and the center will be led out of the University of Memphis by computer scientist Santosh Kumar.

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Mobile Data to Knowledge: Research goals

The MD2K team will spend the next 4 years developing the scientific foundations for realizing the vision of participatory, predictive, precise, personalized and preventive medicine medicine through the use of mobile health data. As a lead technical partner, Open mHealth will support the use and expansion of the Open mHealth platform to collect and aggregate physiological, behavioral, social and environmental data from various 3rd party apps and devices. Open mHealth will build connections to new types of mobile sensors, develop schemas to accommodate new types of data, and enable complex processing algorithms to be built on top of the data by the central MD2K team. Everything developed by Open mHealth will will be open-sourced and publicly available as part of the existing open platform.

The MD2K team will tackle two conditions with high mortality rates: congestive heart failure and smoking addiction. Based on extensive prior research, and using data accessed through Open mHealth, MD2K will develop predictive analytics that can more accurately detect clinical deterioration and reduce personal health risks for both conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure (CHF) affects nearly 6 million Americans and is the top cause of hospitalization. The goal is to use the data from new non-invasive sensors, such as lung-fluid detectors, and commercially available sensors (e.g., blood pressure cuffs), to develop detection methods that can predict risk of patient deterioration, and help reduce 30-day hospital readmission rates in CHF patients.
  • Smoking is the cause of 1 in 5 deaths in the US, and costs $193 billion each year in lost productivity and health care expenses. Though 40% try to quit every year, only 5 % are successful. By using mobile sensors to monitor identified environmental, behavioral and psychological factors of smoking relapses (e.g., exposure to other smokers), the goal is to develop effective interventions that can reduce risk of relapse in those who have recently quit.

Though the research developed through this grant will focus on these specific conditions, the learnings and tools developed will be highly applicable to many other high cost, high morbidity disease conditions — such as asthma, substance abuse, and obesity. In addition, throughout the four years, a training core will ensure learnings are widely shared.

“The MD2K team is a dream team of experts in computer science, data science, behavioral science and clinical medicine. By being part of this team, Open mHealth will be at the cutting edge of figuring out how mobile health data can truly transform health care. Through our open platform, the enabling technology will be disseminated and re-usable by researchers and developers around the world,” Ida Sim, co-founder of Open mHealth.

Open mHealth is extremely excited to be part of this incredibly important initiative to build a scientific foundation for the use of mobile health data in advancing biomedical discovery, and look forward to collaborating with the entire MD2K team!