Policy ForumHEALTH CARE DELIVERY

Open mHealth Architecture: An Engine for Health Care Innovation

Science  05 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6005, pp. 759-760
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196187

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Summary

Chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and obesity account for 46% of global disease burden (1). The traditional model of episodic care in clinic and hospital-based settings is suboptimal for improving chronic disease outcomes (2). Mobile communication devices, in conjunction with Internet and social media, present opportunities to enhance disease prevention and management by extending health interventions beyond the reach of traditional care—an approach referred to as mHealth (3). However, mHealth is emerging as a patchwork of incompatible applications (“apps”) serving narrow, albeit valuable, needs, and thus could benefit from more coordinated development (4). A public-private partnership to define and instantiate an “open” mHealth architecture (described below), in the context of economic incentives and enabling policies, could support medical discovery and evidence-based practice about managing and preventing chronic disease.