How to Capture the Vast Amounts of Personal Health Data

Developing and scaling an open mHealth data format
    • October 20, 2014

Dates of Project: September 2011 through December 2015

Description: The development of mobile health (mHealth) applications (or apps) for smartphones and wearable electronic devices has created vast amounts of personal health data that could be of tremendous value to physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. To date, however, fragmentation of the mHealth ecosystem and its lack of data standards has prevented its rich potential from being realized.

Beginning in September of 2011, a team of computer and clinical professionals worked to establish a nonprofit consortium called Open mHealth aimed at developing a set of open source software architecture that could integrate data from a wide variety of mHealth sources and translate that data into a cohesive, useful form for health care providers.

Key Results

  • As of July 2014, the Open mHealth team had:

    • Assembled a team of expert advisors from the programming and health communities to suggest alternatives for a practical open source system for mHealth applications
    • Built a specification for how data can be exposed to support integration, and released a software implementation of that specification for developers to get started
    • Held a contest in which more than 40 developers created applications using the Open mHealth software, competing for a prize of $100,000
    • Used the Open mHealth software to develop test applications to address problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and type 1 and type 2 diabetes

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Open mHealth is developing an open source, integrated information ecosystem for mobile health applications.