NIH's National Institute of Nursing Research and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering are looking for a few good mobile health tools for the treatment and self-management of chronic diseases in underserved populations.

"With the rapid expansion of cellular networks and substantial advancements in smartphone technologies, it is now possible--and affordable--to transmit patient data digitally from remote areas to specialists in urban areas, receive real-time feedback, and capture that consultation in a database," NIH said. "These mHealth tools, therefore, may facilitate more timely and effective patient-provider communication through education communication around goal setting, treatment reminders, feedback on patient progress, and may improve health outcomes." 

The two NIH organizations are seeking applications from higher education institutions, nonprofits, for-profits, and government agencies, among others. The number of awards is contingent on NIH appropriations and the number of "meritorious" applications. The maximum project period is five years. The earliest date for submission of applications is May 5.

The Institute of Nursing Research, in particular, is interested in research on mobile health tools to help individuals with chronic diseases. Research topics include developing tools to improve patient-provider communications, improve adherence to treatment, provide effective self-management, and effectively using mHealth technologies in underserved populations. For its part, the Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering is supporting research and development of new imaging and bioengineering technologies.

Earlier this year, NIH's Fogarty International Center launched a new program to encourage the development of mobile technology and research into how it can be used to improve health, especially in low-resource countries. As part of the program, NIH is encouraging applications for research projects that "focus on the adaptation, optimization and evaluation of mHealth tools or interventions to prevent, diagnose, manage and treat chronic diseases." The new initiative, Mobile Health: Technology and Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, aims to research possible new mHealth tools or interventions either for chronic diseases or for an array of other health issues.

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