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MHealth Alliance Summit: Mobile Phones Boost Global Health Care

With more than five billion wireless subscribers covering most of the globe, experts from the health care and telecom fields have gathered in the nation's capitol this week to promote the use of mobile phones in delivering improved medical outcomes.

Grants for mobile phone related research have increased nearly five-fold since 2005, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health, this morning's keynote speaker at the mHealth Alliance Summit in Washington, DC.

The enthusiastic Collins showcased a hydrocarbon vapor sensor that can relay the level of harmful vapors emanating from oil spills wirelessly by cell phone in real time.

Todd Park, chief tech officer at the government's Health and Human Services Department (HHS), spoke about "Text for Baby," a free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health.

Expecting mothers get messages each week on their cell phone to help through pregnancy and the baby's first year. More than 100,000 mothers have signed up for the program, Park said.

Park detailed plans for the government to lauch a website featuring health data harvested from across HHS - a wealth of easily accessible, standardized, structured, downloadable data on health care at the national, state, and county levels, as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and income.

Earlier this morning, the mHealth Alliance today announced a two-year, $1 million aggregate donation from Hewlett Packard to help improve health care and health systems around the globe using mobile technology.

"HP's ground-breaking commitment demonstrates the rising importance of mobile technology in improving health, and the leadership of the information and communication technology industries to improve lives around the globe," said David Aylward, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance.

Philanthropist Bill Gates will deliver a keynote address at the mHealth summit on Tuesday.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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