The GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Manchester to establish an m-Health Innovation Centre in Manchester, which will act as a UK focus for m-Health activity.
The goal of the GSMA’s m-Health initiative is to foster innovative mobile applications and services in healthcare that will focus on promoting healthier lifestyles and early intervention.
The Manchester m-Health Innovation Centre will conduct multidisciplinary research, bringing together researchers, healthcare organisations and industrial partners to conceive, develop and evaluate mobile health innovations.
A major focus will be on citizen-led health and wellbeing, using mobile technology to enable people to play a more active role in determining their own health, providing a more personalised and responsive interface to public services. The initiative recognises that innovative health products are important because they can help reduce the cost of healthcare as well as create new growth opportunities for the mobile industry.
The centre in Manchester will encourage innovation by: providing a forum for collaboration and sharing ideas; providing in-depth analysis of the market for m-Health; signposting key opportunities; conducting pilot trials; organising community-building events; providing m-Health education and training; and offering online resources and one-to-one services to support the emerging m-Health community.
Multidisciplinarity will be a critical part of the ethos of the centre, with successful innovation drawing on a combination of insights into health needs, novel technology, an understanding of issues of trust, privacy and individual motivation, and new business models and approaches to technology adoption.
“A combination of mobile and healthcare can deliver tremendous benefits, such as cost savings for healthcare providers as well as convenience and improved quality of life for patients,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer at the GSMA. “We are delighted to be collaborating with the University of Manchester, a leading centre for Health Informatics research, innovation and education, and whose deep expertise and focus makes them an ideal partner for our m-Health collaboration.”
The Manchester m-Health Innovation Centre is working on a variety of health and wellbeing projects which can utilise mobile technology including ‘assisted living applications’ for example prompting patients, such as people with psychotic disorders, to record the medication they are taking, their symptoms and their mood in real time via their mobile phone.
Using mobile technology for prompting and feedback is particularly relevant to young people, who are the largest group of sufferers of psychotic disorders in the UK. Other projects are planned such as Virtual Health Kiosks for monitoring blood pressure, pulse, temperature and glucose levels at home or in the office. The kiosks will be linked seamlessly and securely to clinical and/or personal health record systems via mobile technology.