NIH Launches mHealth Grant Program


Two departments within the National Institutes of Health have announced grant programs focused on funding mHealth research and development projects. The grants are being made available by the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Citing an increase in the overall proliferation of smartphones and cellular networks, and the increase in secure web-based communication options, the NIH says that it is now, for the first time, both feasible and affordable to extend the nation’s health care delivery infrastructure to leverage the benefits of a mobile presence. The announcement speculates that research in these areas “may facilitate more timely and effective patient-provider communication through education communication around goal setting, treatment reminders, feedback on patient progress and may improve health outcomes. “

While the opportunity is being managed under a centralized application process, each institute is soliciting research projects focused on separate areas within the scope of mHealth. The National Institute of Nursing Research is focused on finding researchers working on tools that will support self-management of chronic diseases, and tools that will improve patient-provider communications. Specific projects being pursued by NINR include those that:

  • Develop, test, and compare effective strategies that incorporate mHealth tools to improve patient-provider communications
  • Develop, test, and compare mHealth tools for improved adherence to treatment
  • Develop, test and compare mHealth tools for effective self-management
  • Develop, test, and/or compare technologies that incorporate interventions for adherence and self-management strategies
  • Develop, test, and/or compare mHealth technologies or tools in underserved populations

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering is the NIH’s newest research institute. The institute’s mission is to support and accelerate research into biomedical technologies such as sensors, telehealth, tissue engineering, implantable medical devices, biomedical informatics, as well as a variety of imaging-specific technologies. Within the scope of this grant, NIBIB is soliciting on research projects that:

  • Develop and test decision support systems to provide guidance and a framework for shared decision-making with medical professionals based on best available evidence
  • Develop and test networked, citizen-driven approaches to engaging and retaining people in improving their health
  • Develop technology that incorporates telemetry and remote access in the acquisition, analysis and monitoring of biomedical data
  • Develop software and hardware tools for telehealth technology and studies that have broad applications or are in specific focus areas.

The grant program will begin accepting applications on May 5 and will continue to accept applications through May 2017. Grant awards are limited to $500,000 per research-year, unless a waiver is approved. Applications are open to private organizations, universities, non-profit entities, government organizations, and foreign entities.

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