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UK and India collaborate on mobile health

New project to explore the potential of mobile technologies in improving the management of chronic diseases in rural areas of the UK and India

An international research project is set to explore the potential of mobile technologies to improve the management of chronic diseases in rural areas of the UK and India.

The three-year mobile health (or mHealth) project, known as TRUMP, is part of the £7m programme, Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide, funded in the UK by the Research Councils UK (RCUK).

TRUMP, which stands for Trusted Mobile Platform for the Self-Management of Chronic Illness in Rural Areas, involves computer scientists, designers, clinicians and social scientists from the UK working with colleagues at research institutions in India to investigate the complex social and technical issues surrounding the use of mobile technologies in healthcare. They will focus their research on developments for diabetes and depression. 

They will perform detailed analysis of the healthcare context, design sustainable technology solutions compatible with local and national healthcare policies and incorporate existing proven chronic management programmes and training. In addition, they will develop new patient record systems, mechanisms for tracking the patient (symptoms and behaviour) and raise awareness of how patients can manage their conditions.

TRUMP is led in the UK by Professor Peter Edwards of the University of Aberdeen and involves the universities of Aberdeen, Newcastle, City, Lancaster and Northumbria. Indian partners in TRUMP are the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, both in New Delhi.

This latest funding stands at £2.9m, £1.7m of which goes to the UK partners, to expand the programme of work associated with the RCUK dot.rural research hub established at the University of Aberdeen in 2009.

Speaking about the project, Prof Edwards said: "Trust lies at the centre of any mHealth solution. Patients must feel that systems have been designed by and for 'people just like them' and must be confident that their medical information is managed in a secure and reliable fashion.

"Healthcare professionals must have confidence that systems cannot harm the patient, and policy makers want to be satisfied that systems take account of drivers for future health services and enterprises. Developing a 'platform' which combines the necessary hardware and software elements to meet these requirements is the focus of TRUMP."

While the UK and India have different practices and structures for healthcare delivery, the effective management of chronic illness is a priority for both.

14th April 2011

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