Sunday, May 15, 2011

mHealth to Help Diabetics

The McKesson Foundation’s “Mobilizing for Health” initiative awarded $1.3 million to six U.S institutions. The funding will be used is to improve the health of underserved populations with chronic diseases through the use of mobile phone technology. The grants up to $250,000 each will support studies on diabetes care and management.

George Washington University Medical Center researchers received two of the grants. One GW study will basically examine if information sent to individuals via their mobile phones using SMS text messaging will reduce emergency department visits for people with diabetes.

The researchers will evaluate the impact of a mobile phone-based text messaging system to see if the people receiving information through their cell phones helps to increase their knowledge about diabetes, improves their self-care behaviors, and if the information is then transmitted to researchers.

The other study will be a randomized, controlled trial of a cell phone based software application for patients with diabetes and hypertension. The software application will enable patients to monitor their blood glucose and blood pressure and share the information with case managers and primary care providers through existing electronic medical records. The plan is to improve information flow between patients, case managers, and healthcare providers. The study will also explore the potential for medication error reduction and perform a cost analysis of the intervention.

The McKesson Foundation decided to put diabetes management at the forefront of its “Mobilizing for Health” grant program when it was launched in 2010 and will continue to focus on diabetes management and research through March 2012.

GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences has spearheaded several other projects that include the D.C Chronic Care Initiative Cell Phone Project, GW/WellDoc Air Force Diabetes Project, plus other mobile health projects.

The other McKesson Foundation grantees include Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, Nova Southeastern University, Public Health Institute, and the University of Southern California.

For more information on the grant program, go to