HP Donates $1 Million to mHealth Alliance's Mobile Health Initiatives

HP's $1 million donation to the mHealth Alliance will fund research on mobile monitoring of pregnant women and newborns.

Hewlett-Packard will donate $1 million to the mHealth Alliance's efforts to promote health through wireless and mobile devices.

The Alliance made the announcement on Nov. 8 in Washington, D.C., at its mHealth Summit, a conference it organized along with the National Institutes of Health and the nonprofit fund-raising and research group, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

The mHealth alliance was formed by The U.N. Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation on Feb. 17, 2009, at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Mobile technology can help increase the timeliness of care, according to the Alliance.

Spread out over two years, HP's aggregate donation will boost mobile health care efforts around the world, the Alliance reports.

"HP's groundbreaking 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," David Aylward, executive director of the Alliance, said in a statement. "HP's financial, technical and project support to mHealth Alliance initiatives significantly expands our ability to catalyze the partnerships, solutions and sustainable deployments of mobile technology that can enable healthier lives for all, especially in the developing world."

The donation will fund the Alliance's HUB (Health UnBound) online community, which helps bring about collaboration on mobile health technology worldwide.

Co-sponsored by HMN (Health Metrics Network) along with the Alliance, HUB is an online community that facilitates communication about how to implement mobile technology in low- and middle-income countries. The site offers educational health content and enables communication among health professionals, government officials, donors and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations associated with the United Nations).

The funds will also boost the efforts of the Alliance's MNM (Maternal and Newborn mHealth) Initiative.

Established in June, the MNM Initiative will develop mobile technology according to the MDG 5 IWG (Innovation Working Group) standard to improve the care of pregnant women and newborns and reduce their mortality rates.

The MNM Initiative will offer online consultations, health care product prototypes and new health care monitoring techniques.

Mobile phones are now in the hands of midwives in rural or isolated areas and can be used for remote monitoring of fetuses and wireless ultrasound.

"We feel a strong obligation to global health from both a business and social impact perspective and are committed to helping to improve lives and change the health care equation for people around the world," Gabi Zedlmayer, HP's vice president of global social innovation, said in a statement.

Microsoft has also donated funds, as well as hardware and software, toward fetal-monitoring smartphone apps.

Meanwhile, PayPal recently rolled out version 2.5 of its mobile app that allows iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to contribute to organizations such as the American Cancer Society and UNICEF.

In another development at the mHealth Summit, Todd Park, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced that the government will create a health taskforce called Text4Health modeled after Text4Baby, an SMS service that sends free health tips to new and expectant mothers.

Text4Health will use SMS technology to help deal with smoking cessation, obesity and childhood health issues, Mobihealthnews.com reports.