Recently, the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute was one of six venerated institutions across the USA chosen to receive a Mobilizing for Health grant.
The grant was made possible by the McKesson Foundation, an organization that has distributed $1.5 million to further conduct research on how mobile phones can be fully utilized to improve the quality of life for underserved populations and communities who suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes.
The McKesson Foundation has a clear vision of providing quality, affordable and accessible healthcare across the globe. It was founded in 1943 and its 3 main objectives for improving patient health are:
- Improved healthcare quality
- Personal health management
- Lower healthcare costs
In fact, according to the website, beginning in 2009, McKesson’s main funding area has been chronic disease management in the U.S., with a near-term focus on diabetes over the next three years. This aim has primarily supported diabetes management programs at community health centers focused on innovative technology, minorities, testing, adherence and volunteerism—typically on a national scale.
The grant to Scripps is in the amount of $250,000 and will be used to launch a text messaging campaign in a recently identified underserved diabetic Hispanic community. The texts will contain information related to the management of the disease.
“This grant will allow us to test a simple texting approach to change behavior in the low income Latino population with diabetes,” said Dr. Athena Philis-Tsimikas, vice president, Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. “This is one of the most difficult areas to make an impact, but if successful it can lead to dramatic improvements and outcomes in their care.”
Furthermore, the studies aim is to further comprehend how basic mobile phones and smartphones can be used to boost health outcomes among under-served patients with chronic illnesses. This undertaking, then, has the potential of impacting millions of patients around the world–depending upon the results.
Through the Mobilizing for Health initiative, the end goal is widespread adoption of care management models using mHealth technologies that have a track record of success.
“Each study will be completed by April 1, 2013, and all are designed to work within community health clinics serving low-income patients. Scripps is partnering locally with Neighborhood Healthcare to enroll 100 participants who will receive ongoing text messages for one year regarding medication management and behavior changes.”
The other Mobilizing for Health grant awards winners include: Baystate Medical, Einstein University, General Hospital Corp., Medic Mobile, and Vanderbilt University. Further information about the grant winners and the specifics of the grant can be found here.