The West Wireless Health Institute (WWHI) and the Carlos Slim Health Institute (CSHI) kicked off a research study in Mexico that aims to track the impact mobile health and connected devices have on maternal health in the state of Yucatan in Mexico. The technologies used in the study are part of a “Wireless Pregnancy Remote Monitoring Kit,” developed by WWHI and CSHI.
The first phase of the research study will equip as many as 10 clinics in the Mexican state with the kits, which include a 3G phone, glucometer and blood pressure meter, urine strips, and a 3G wireless embedded laptop. Providers in primary care providers will use the kits during routine visits with expectant mothers. This phase is set to begin during the second quarter of 2012.
Sometime in the fall the second phase of the study will begin. Community health workers will use a new device, WWHI’s Sense4Baby, a handheld, portable and cellular-enabled monitoring device, to provide care for expectant mothers in the comfort of their homes. The Sense4Baby device provides critical maternal and fetal monitoring for high-risk pregnancies.
Researchers at West will have access to a health care delivery system on the Amanece network in order to study the impact the technology has on reducing healthcare costs and the clinical benefits for this high-risk population.
The research study announcement should come as no surprise: When the West Wireless Health Institute first unveiled its prototype of the Sense4Baby device at the mHealth Summit in 2010, the organization already noted plans to deploy the device as part of a kit to healthcare providers working in rural communities in Mexico. As part of the original plan, Qualcomm was going to provide a smartphone running its BREW operating system as part of the kits, but since then smartphones running Android have become cheaper and that led the West Wireless Health Institute to readjust its plan as well as the contents of the kit, a WWHI spokesperson told MobiHealthNews in an email.
The West Wireless Health Institute is also looking to launch research studies on how effective the Sense4Baby device is in rural and urban areas of the United States. The organization is looking for organizations to partner with to carry these studies stateside.
Finally, Gary and Mary West, the founders of the West Wireless Health Institute, recently announced the opening of the West Health Policy Center in Washington, DC. The new center has some of the same leadership as the wireless health institute: West Wireless Health Institute’s CEO Don Casey will serve as chairman of the new institute and Dr. Joseph Smith (Chief Medical Officer of the WWHI) will serve as president of the policy institute. Visit the center’s website for more info.
For more on the Sense4Baby study, read the press release below: Keep reading>>