mHealth Summit 2009


About the Summit

mhealth_print_square_180widthMobile technologies have the potential to transform global healthcare on many fronts, from research and diagnostics to training and preventative interventions. In an effort to support and foster healthcare research, Microsoft Research was proud to convene the mHealth Summit in partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

From October 29 to 30, 2009, the mHealth Summit united researchers, policy-makers, and visionaries from such diverse fields as medical research, software design, clinical healthcare, hardware manufacture, and network transmission. The summit provided these experts with an opportunity to exchange ideas, research, and findings to encourage the development and deployment of innovative, practical, affordable, and effective solutions to health challenges in underserved and resource-poor populations.

In addition to reviewing current tools and research from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, the summit fostered inter-disciplinary collaboration to help identify new opportunities for existing mobile-industry companies to work with emerging public health facilitators.

The goals of the 2009 summit included the following:

  • Assess current policies regarding mobile health technologies and their use to reduce or eliminate domestic and global health disparities.
  • Build a bridge between biomedical researchers and mobile-technology experts to identify mHealth solutions.
  • Foster integration of mobile and medical technology to improve healthcare delivery to underserved populations.
  • Discuss and craft a vision for future mHealth technologies.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

07:00 A.M.–08:00 A.M.
Registration and Badge Pickup

08:00 A.M.–08:15 A.M.
Welcome Remarks
Dr. Charles Sanders,
Chairman, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

08:15 A.M.–08:35 A.M.
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Francis S. Collins,
Director, National Institutes of Health

08:35 A.M.–08:55 A.M.
Keynote Speaker
Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

9:00 A.M.–10:15 A.M.
Case Studies Presentation
Point of Care Diagnostics and Remote Patient Monitoring

10:15 A.M.–10:30 A.M.

10:30 A.M.–12:00 P.M.
Panel Discussion: Ethics, Privacy, and Security Challenges of Using Mobile
Technologies in Health and Health Research

12:00 P.M.–01:30 P.M.
Keynote Luncheon
TBA, Rwandan Health Ministry

01:30 P.M.–03:00 P.M.
Panel Discussions: Building Capacity and Collaborations to Effectively Harness
Mobile Technologies for Health

03:00 P.M.–03:30 P.M.
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden,
Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

03:30 P.M.–04:00 P.M.

04:00 P.M.–05:15 P.M.
Case Studies Presentation
Remote Data Collection and Surveillance

05:15 P.M. – 05:30 P.M.
Wrap Up Discussion – Day one

05:30 P.M.–07:00 P.M.
Networking Reception, Exhibits, and Poster Presentations

Friday, October 30, 2009

07:00 A.M.–08:00 A.M.
Registration and Badge Pickup

08:00 A.M.–08:15 A.M.
Introduction and Recap of Day One

08:15 A.M.–09:30 A.M.
Case Studies Presentation
Public Health Education

09:45 A.M.–10:30 A.M.
Keynote Speakers
Elizabeth Frawley Bagley,
Ambassador, Special Representative for Global Partnerships
Eric Goosby,
Ambassador, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

10:30 A.M.–10:45 A.M.

10:45 A.M.–12:00 P.M.
Case Studies Presentation
Healthy Behavior Change and Wellbeing Promotion

12:00 P.M.–12:45 P.M.
Lunch – On Your Own

12:45 P.M.–02:15 P.M.
Panel Discussions: Visions for the Future

02:15 P.M.–02:30 P.M.
Wrap Up – Summit Adjourns


Use Smart Phones to Promote Diabetes Self-Management: Robust Elderly in Urban and Rural China

Jiao Ma, Cynthia LeRouge, Joseph Flaherty, et al.

China is one of the countries with the largest number of people suffering from diabetes (King, Aubert, & Herman, 1998). Continuing rising in prevalence of diabetics has become a major public health problem in modern China (Cheng, 2003). Recent studies attribute the burden of diabetes to poor patient practices and limited knowledge of the clinical complexities of diabetes (Bouldin, et al. 2002). Some recent studies have indicated that cell phones can be used as a tool in care of diabetes, particularly through smart messaging systems (Kim & Jeong, 2006; Benhamu et al., 2007). China is experiencing a proliferation of mobile phone usage (China Statistical Yearbook, 2003). Though most of the rural areas in China still lack telecommunications infrastructure, dramatic migration trends are leading people out of these areas (UN, 2002). This project proposes to design and prototype an age and culturally appropriate, interactive diabetes self-management system on smart phones for robust (independent in activities of daily living) elderly population with diabetes in urban and rural China.

Abstract | Case study

Fetal Heart Rate and Activity Monitoring via Smart Phones

Alfred Tan, Martin Masek

The project will research and develop a fetal heart rate (FHR) and activity monitoring system using smart phones running the Microsoft Mobile platform. Such system can be coupled with an inexpensive portable doppler FHR monitor to provide quality ante-natal care for expecting mothers living in remote and rural areas far away from medical care. One such remote and rural community which can benefit from our innovation in telemedicine is the Indigenous community in outback Australia. Among the Australian Indigenous community the rate of pre-term birth is significantly higher than the non-Indigenous population. It has been known that quality ante-natal care can bring about significant improvement to the survival statistics of Indigenous babies. Our innovation can help to achieve this.


Interactive Structured Multi-modal Clinical Guidelines on Cell Phones

M. Sriram Iyengar, Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

In developing countries, where physician density is low and accessibility to health resources is scarce, non-physician care providers (NPCPs) are typically the sole providers of medical care to millions. In many such countries, most NPCPs have not completed high school, have very basic levels of clinical training and their performance often falls short of acceptable standards. In particular, NPCPs often do not follow standardized guidelines of care when given in paper-based form. The use of multiple modalities (voice, text, pictures, video) to impart information has been shown to enhance understanding. “GuideView” will support NPCPs by means of interactive, structured, multi-modal clinical guidelines on multiple platforms including Windows Mobile cell phones. Three GuideView compatible clinical guidelines in the areas of wound-care, musculo-skeletal trauma, and pediatric fever will be developed.


Application of Smart Phone in 'Better Border Healthcare Program' (BBHP)

Amnat Khamsiriwatchara

The goal of the BBHP is to develop models for utilizing smart cell phone as health communication tool in the under-served communities along Thailand border in order to: (1) to improve maternal health focusing on antenatal care (ANC), (2) to reduce child mortality focusing on Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), and (3) to prevent/monitor disease incidence and to ensure treatment outcomes focusing on malaria due to malaria endemic in the border area. The project will be implemented in under-served rural communities composing of approximately 4200 Thai and minority people near Thai-Myanmar border.

Case study

Chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) require lifelong, continuous medical care.

Salys Sultan (presenting), Permanand Mohan, University of The West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) require lifelong, continuous medical care. Preventative care requires a different model in which current healthcare systems fall short of. A more interactive approach is required at the primary healthcare level. This presentation will focus on the use of mobile telephony as an alternative channel for the delivery of health services, in particular diabetes self-management education (DSME). This alternative channel is intended to increase the accessibility, availability and relevance of support services for patients living with diabetes. The presentation will highlight some of the research problems surrounding this area including the need for change management to ensure the sustainability of new mHealth initiatives. A case is presented that directly tests the hypothesis that “the use of mobile telephony as a platform”.

The PixTalk Communication System: a Smart-phone Application and a Companion Website for the Improvement of the Communication Skills of Children with Autism

Gondy Leroy and Gianluca DeLeo (presenting), Claremont University and Old Dominion University

Teachers play an important role in the effort to increase the communication skills of children with autism and determine the required teaching style. However, they do not have any tools that allow them to share ideas, data, and information, and provide objective feedback on communicative behavior of children with autism. We are developing a communication system for severe autistic children using SmartPhones to enable on-the-go communication. The project for which we are seeking support will leverage our current research and develop and test the support environment that lets teachers, therapist and parents evaluate longitudinal communication data from the SmartPhones for individual children and for groups of children, discuss findings, and complement this data with other child-specific data using modern data analysis and data mining tools. If successful, this project will help teachers in their daily activities and that will also support and encourage integration of children with autism in our society. The project will make contributions in the field of special education and software development for users with special needs.


CellScope: Mobile Phone Microscopy for Disease Diagnosis and Monitoring

Daniel Fletcher and Amy Sheng (presenting on Daniel’s behalf), University of California, Berkeley

Effective healthcare requires reliable patient data and a trained physician to interpret the data and guide treatment. In many developing countries, bringing those two components together—reliable data and trained physicians—is a tremendous challenge. Healthcare personnel are frequently under-trained and under-equipped, often facing excessive patient loads with minimal equipment. Light microscopy is one of the most important clinical tools for routine examinations. However, high-quality light microscopes commonly available in the developed world are rarer than physicians in some developing countries. We are working to turn the camera of a cell phone into a clinical-quality light microscope that can transmit images of patient samples remotely for evaluation by specialists. Such a cell phone microscope—which we call the CellScope—will address both healthcare data collection and diagnosis problems in developing countries by linking the two through wireless communication.


Real-Time Cardiovascular Diseases Detection on a Smartphone

Allen Cheng, University of Pittsburgh

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is by far the leading cause of death in the world for both women and men of all ethnic backgrounds. The Electrocardiogram (ECG) is the most widely adopted clinical tool that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart from the body surface. This electrical activity is related to the impulse that travels through the heart, which determines its rate and rhythm. The overarching goal of this research seeks to establish a cell phone-based wearable ECG platform capable of performing continuous ambulatory monitoring and recording of ECG in real time, generating individualized cardio health summary report in plain language, and automatically detecting CVD signs at any place and anytime. This wearable platform is codenamed “CardioPro.”


Monitoring and Modeling the Everyday Activities of the Elderly to better Support Independent Living

George Polyzos, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece

The world population of people over the age of 65 is growing rapidly at a rate of 800,000 per month. Recent advances in sensor technology, cellular networks and information technology promise to improve the well-being of the elderly by assisting them in their daily activities and monitoring their health status, thus enabling them to lead their lives to a larger extent independently from healthcare institutions and their caretakers. The aim of the ARCHANGEL project is to design, implement, and validate a cost-effective, secure , adaptable and interoperable framework for learning and monitoring the daily behavior of the elderly using advanced sensor networking, machine learning, and controlled interaction with caretakers. The resulting system will be based on off-the-shelf sensors and positioning-enabled cellular phones.


Low-Cost, Smartphone Ultrasound Imaging Systems

David Zar (presenting), William Richard, Washington University, Saint Louis

Access to basic medical imaging technologies is non-existent in many developing countries and in many underserved rural and urban communities. Prenatal care via the use of even the most basic ultrasonic imaging technology, for example, could save many lives, yet available portable ultrasound systems are still expensive and complicated to operate. We have developed a family of low-cost ultrasound probes used with laptops and small-form-factor PCs, but these probes are not currently compatible with Smart Phones. We will modify low-cost USB ultrasound probes to be compatible with Smart Phones. They will enable access to an important diagnostic and screening technology in underserved rural and urban communities.

Abstract | Case study

Digital Inclusion Healthcare Solution in Botswana: Mobile Phones Used to Access HIV/AIDS Information

Dimane Mpoeleng , George Anderson, Yirsaw Ayalew, Deepti Garg, Bontle Gopolang, Audrey Masizana-Katongo, Opelo Mogotlhwane, Pheto Mokotedi, Nkwebi Motlogelwa, Edwin Thuma, T. Taukobong, University of Botswana

In the emerging information society, access to information sources will be vital for African countries to realize their development goals in the areas of healthcare, education and social development. In healthcare, for example, access to appropriate information can improve the management of chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and HIV/AIDS and minimize visits to physicians and periods of hospitalization, thus lowering the cost of healthcare. Many African countries are today well placed to join the information society, due an emerging proliferation of information and communications technology devices, especially mobile phones, in the home and work environments. The University of Botswana project aims to develop and test an integrated internet-based healthcare information service, targeting HIV/AIDS patients. At the heart of the system is an Information Server and Intelligent Personal Information Centers designed to derive and present appropriate information for individual users.

Abstract | Case study

Cell Phone Applications for Clinical Diagnostic Therapeutic and Public Health Use by Front-Line Health Workers in Developing Countries

James Black, Liz Sonenberg, Rens Scheepers, Ahsan Khandoker, Fernando Koch, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Mozambique is, paradoxically, both one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the most rapid adopters of cell phone technology. The cell phone network reaches a large proportion of the country, and large numbers of health workers already carry them. This project will create a suite of applications that make use of cell phone processors to improve diagnostic and therapeutic options for front-line Mozambican health workers. These applications include: reference material in the cell phone’s memory; calculators for clinical decision support such as a drug dosage calculator; and a processor to analyze inputs from medical hardware sensors. The project will also document the impact of the suite of application from the perspective of front-line health workers in Mozambique.


Developing a Mobile Health System for Patients in the Caribbean with Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: Experiences from the MediNet Project

Permanand Mohan, Salys Sultan, Ahad Deen, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

This project is the first phase of a larger project that involves the development of a Caribbean-wide Healthcare Management System using cellular phone technology. The long term objective of the project is the development of a network that would integrate the medical resources of the entire region thereby promoting the sharing of medical expertise and resources in a region with very poor healthcare facilities; yet, having very good cellular phone infrastructure. A healthcare system known as a MediNet will be developed for Trinidad and Tobago, targeting two diseases, diabetes and cardio-vascular technology. The system will contain components that receive information from monitoring devices attached to patients and then transmit this information to a server using a cellular network. At the server, a data reasoning engine extracts all relevant information from the data captured. The alert notification component ensures that the medical officer(s) are notified depending on the severity of the case and the appropriate response action is initiated whether it is a phone call or an onsite visit. The system may also make suggestions to the patient on his/her cellular phone as a result of its reasoning processes.


Application of Smart Phone in 'Better Border Health Care Program' (BBHP)

Jaranit Kaewkungwal, Amnat Khamsiriwatchara (presenting), Pratap Singhasivanon, Pongthep Meankaew, Podjadeach Khunthong, and Surasak Sawang, Mahidol University, Thailand

The goal of the BBHP is to develop models for utilizing smart cell phone as health communication tool in the under-served communities along Thailand border in order to: (1) to improve maternal health focusing on antenatal care (ANC), (2) to reduce child mortality focusing on Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), and (3) to prevent/monitor disease incidence and to ensure treatment outcomes focusing on malaria due to malaria endemic in the border area. The project will be implemented in under-served rural communities composing of approximately 4200 Thai and minority people near Thai-Myanmar border.

Abstract | Case study

Energy Consumption of Sensor Enabled Applications on Mobile Phones

Chris Gnaidy, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona

The goal of this project is to design and implement an infrastructure for semi-autonomous health care monitoring applications that can monitor the patents’ health for extended periods with limited access to battery recharging and cell phone reception. Many issues must be addressed to make cell phones a viable platform for remotely monitoring health care, including security, reliability, and privacy, but perhaps the most basic is energy. Cell phones are battery-operated, making energy a resource that must be managed carefully to ensure the longest running time before the battery is depleted. In a sense, all other issues are secondary – without energy, the cell phone simply will not function. In this project, we therefore focus on reducing the energy demand placed on the cell phones by remote health care monitoring.


Enabling Community Health Workers with Mobile Phones

Gaetano Borriello, Neal Lesh (presenting), University of Washington

Community health workers (CHWs) are playing an increasingly important role in the efforts to improve the health of rural populations in low-income countries. Our project seeks to provide mobile technologies for these CHWs using the cell phone as the primary platform. The capabilities of the platform will permit health surveys and interventions to be conducted asynchronously by lightly-trained individuals following well-established international medical protocols. We will be exploiting the camera capabilities of the platform to automatically interpret diagnostic tests conducted with an assay card. The prototype will be field tested in rural Tanzania in collaboration with BRAC.



Featured Guests and Presenters

At this year’s summit, four recipients of Microsoft External Research’s Cell Phone as a Platform for Healthcare initiative presented case studies to develop mobile technologies, and Microsoft External Research collaborative projects were represented in the conference poster session.


tolleKristin Tolle Director,

Microsoft Research



Invited Panelists

lauterKristin Lauter Principal Researcher,

Microsoft Research Cryptography Group



mitalAmit Mital Corporate Vice President,

Unlimited Potential Group and Startup Business Accelerator



Case Study Presenters

  • Cynthia LeRouge
  • Martin Masek
  • M. Sriram Iyengar
  • Amnat Khamsiriwatchara

Poster Session Presenters

  • Gondy Leroy
  • Daniel Fletcher and Amy Sheng
  • Allen Cheng
  • George Polyzos
  • William Richard and David Zar
  • Dimane Mpoeleng
  • James Black, Liz Sonenberg, Rens Scheepers
  • Permanand Mohan
  • Jaranit Kaewkungwal and Amnat Khamsiriwatchara
  • Chris Gnaidy
  • Gaetano Borriello and Neal Lesh