News from the NIH: using mobile and wireless technologies to improve health.


Mobile and wireless health (mHealth) technologies have developed at an exponential pace in recent years; however, the integration and translation of these cutting-edge technologies into rigorously evaluated health research and healthcare tools have lagged behind. Low-cost, real-time devices to assess disease processes, movement, images, behavior, social interactions, environmental toxins, hormones, and other physiological variables have made remarkable advances in the last decade because of increased computational sophistication and reductions in size and power requirements [1]. The engineering and computer science knowledge exists to develop technologies that will alter the collection of health-related data for basic and translational research, clinical practice, healthcare delivery, and public health in ways that were not imaginable a decade ago, but these applications must be subjected to the same rigorous biomedical and behavioral research standards to prevent ineffective or potential harmful applications from being used Unfortunately, the slow pace of our traditional research methods often fail to keep pace with the technology, resulting in publications of rigorous evaluations of potentially outdated technologies [2]. The gap between the mHealth product world and the health research community also represents a missed opportunity for scientists to include mHealth tools to strengthen and support their research efforts.


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