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7/29/2011
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Mobile Health Elder Care Apps Get Funding

Demonstration grants totaling $477,000 will support development of mHealth technology for aging adults with chronic illnesses.

12 Innovative Mobile Healthcare Apps
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Slideshow: 12 Innovative Mobile Healthcare Apps
The Center for Technology and Aging (CTA) will invest a total of $477,150 in five organizations to demonstrate the best ways to implement mobile health (mHealth) technologies for older adults with chronic health conditions.

The one-year grants are partially funded from the SCAN Foundation, an independent charitable organization with a mission to advance the quality of care for seniors. The initiative is also receiving assistance from the office of the national coordinator (ONC) for health IT's Beacon Community Program.

Beacon Communities are at the forefront of connecting entire communities through technology, including the use of mHealth. "We're undertaking this initiative just as the mHealth field is rapidly growing and demonstrating significant potential to improve care processes, expand access to care, augment other home care technologies, and reduce the costs of care," David Lindeman, director of the Center for Technology and Aging, said in a statement.

The grant initiative's goal is to demonstrate practical, effective approaches to using mHealth in a variety of settings and circumstances that result in better quality healthcare at a lower cost.

"These technologies can and should be more rapidly adopted by healthcare providers and patients because they reduce the use of ERs and hospitals by older adults, diminish the need for those with chronic illness to move to intensive higher-cost care settings, and lessen the burden on family and professional caregivers," said Lindeman.

In a statement issued by the CTA, the organization said mHealth is emerging as a significant tool for connecting seniors with healthcare providers and the healthcare system, using technology to reach older adults wherever they are and allowing them to remain at home.

"Grantees are building a strong evidence-base for diffusion for mHealth interventions that improve chronic disease management, post-acute care, and/or the safety of older adults," the CTA said in a statement.

The following organizations and projects were approved for funding, beginning Monday.

-- CalOptima, Orange County, Calif.: Preventing or delaying transitions of Medicare members with heart disease to higher levels of care settings by using mHealth and wireless solutions.

-- Family Services Agency of San Francisco: Using a cloud-based electronic health record with a tablet-based touchscreen assessment and care planning tool to improve assessment, service coordination, and outcome evaluation for frail, isolated, low-income seniors, including some with behavioral health or substance abuse issues.

-- Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing, Los Angeles: Addressing medication adherence among active, independent older adults using a medication adherence app for cell phones.

-- HealthInsight, Utah: Using a SMS-based mHealth intervention to improve diabetes education and care management in older adults.

-- Sharp HealthCare Foundation, San Diego: Managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care by remotely monitoring patients.

Find out how health IT leaders are dealing with the industry's pain points, from allowing unfettered patient data access to sharing electronic records. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: There needs to be better e-communication between technologists and clinicians. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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