Making Sense of Mobile Health Data

An Open Architecture to Improve Individual- and Population-Level Health

Mobile Health (mHealth) Applications

Mobile phones, and smartphones in particular, have the potential to support chronic disease prevention and management in daily life. For example, mobile health (mHealth) applications can help people manage their diabetes, assist in smoking cessation, encourage sunscreen use, improve medical appointment attendance, and monitor food intake and exercise. In short, there is no shortage of health apps. But what will be done with all that data?

Open mHealth

Open mHealth is a nonprofit organization that is building an open software architecture environment so that a community of developers, clinicians, researchers, and entrepreneurs can build and reuse modules across applications, disease conditions, and users.

Open mHealth, these authors contend, contributes to the three essential feedback loops of health data: personal care, clinical decision-making, and research evidence.

The Efficacy of Open Architecture

The authors have designed Personal Evidence Architecture modules to:

  • Incorporate measures from a Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), a standardized, validated clinical measure.
  • Collect and interpret measures over time.
  • Use an “n-of-1” single-patient trial structure to identify effective approaches for an individual patient.

The researchers are working on a number of projects to demonstrate the efficacy of an open architecture and engage the developer and health innovator communities.