The distinction between health applications by smartphone versus applications on the web will diminish in the future, according to an article appearing in the newsletter “PPP Advisor” by William T. Riley PhD, Program Director at the Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch at NHLBI.
The article in “PPP Advisor” published by the Private Partnership Program at NIH discusses the role of NIH and mhealth. He questions if private industry is developing innovative wireless and mobile applications and FDA is working to regulate the industry to achieve safety and effectiveness then what is the role of NIH as it relates to mHealth?
As he explained, mHealth technologies have greatly outpaced the research needed to evaluate the technologies plus if mHealth applications are not making a medical claim, FDA approval is not needed. The result is that numerous mHealth applications commercially available very often lack research support. Therefore the role of NIH should support research that evaluates the validity and efficacy of mobile applications.
Today, NIH supports approximately 100 grants to develop and/or evaluate mobile technologies applied to health but much more needs to be done. With the current timeline from grant submission to the completion and publication of a randomized clinical trial, many of the mHealth applications currently being published are already dated or obsolete.
To facilitate mHealth efforts at NIH, the NIH mHealth InterInstitute Interest Group (mHealth IIIG) coordinated by the NIH Public-Private Partnership Program in the Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director at NIH, with over 100 members from various NIH Institutes, Centers, and offices is addressing the issue.
In addition to sharing mHealth research support efforts across NIH, (mHealth IIIG) also develops trans-NIH initiatives and coordinates workshops and training efforts. Right now, one of the major efforts has been to coordinate the research track for the 3rd Annual mHealth Summit to be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Maryland coming December 5-7 2011. For more information on the mHealth Summit supported by the Foundation for the NIH and other partners, go to www.mhealthsummit.org.
Go to http://ppp.od.nih.org/pppinfo/docs/PPP_Newsletter_Fall_2011.pdf to view the newsletter.