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The Qualcomm Foundation has awarded a $3.5 million grant to launch a new program by Scripps Health to support the development of wireless biosensor systems to help detect and treat heart attacks, type 1 diabetes and certain types of cancer, among other healthcare concerns.
The San Diego-based Scripps Health integrated health system includes the Scripps Translational Science Institute, a National Institutes of Health-supported collaboration of several public and private organizations to study digital initiatives in healthcare. One of the first beneficiaries of the new, three-year Scripps Digital Medicine program will be Eric Topol, STSI's director, chief academic officer of Scripps Health and a longtime advocate of wearable medical technology, who will conduct a long-range study of the mobile health platform developed by San Antonio, Texas-based AirStrip Technologies.
“The support from the Qualcomm Foundation of our efforts at Scripps positions us to catalyze the future of digital medicine – a new form of healthcare that is remarkably precise, tailored to individual patients and designed to engage them in their own care,” said Topol, who will study how the mobile monitoring of patients by physicians can improve clinical workflow and patient recovery rates, in a press release.
“The interest of Dr. Topol and his team in studying the efficacy of AirStrip’s mobile critical care solutions is in itself acknowledgement of the significance of medical information mobility as the mobile health revolution marches forward,” added AirStrip Chief Executive Officer Alan Portela.
AirStrip, launched in 2004, is making its mark in developing tools and platforms that bring diagnostic quality to mobile devices. In the past year, the company has forged partnerships not only with Qualcomm, but also with GE Carescape, Diversinet and the Hospital Corporation of America. In June, AirStrip announced a partnership with another San Diego-based health network, Palomar Health, to develop a vendor-neutral platform that would allow healthcare providers to access a wide range of patient information sources from their smartphones and tablets.
“We’re taking this to a higher level of information exchange,” he said in an interview at that time. “Mobility is becoming a mission-critical tool in healthcare.”
STSI will use the Qualcomm grant in three specific programs:
“Scripps Health and our Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) partners are at the forefront of the development of wireless and genomic medicine,” said Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health's president and CEO. “The generous grant from the Qualcomm Foundation reinforces our efforts to translate innovative discoveries into transformative clinical therapies.”
The grant builds on a long-standing relationship between Scripps Health and San Diego-based Qualcomm, which established the Qualcomm Foundation in 2010 to support and strengthen healthcare communities around the world. Last year the company launched Qualcomm Life, a health and science subsidiary, and unveiled its 2net hub, a multi-channel portal designed to advance the development and coordination of mobile medical devices and platforms outside the hospital setting.
"The combination of wireless technologies, sensors, diagnostics and DNA sequencing tools offers unparalleled opportunities to dramatically impact healthcare. The Qualcomm Foundation is proud to support this endeavor – bringing breakthrough technologies to the field of medicine to improve patient care,” said Paul E. Jacobs, Qualcomm's chairman and CEO and chairman of the Qualcomm Foundation, in the release.
“Qualcomm sees the value in combining digital wireless technologies, global networks, genetics and consumer electronics at scale to lower the cost of healthcare while increasing quality, access and convenience,” added Don Jones, vice president of global strategy and market development for Qualcomm Life. “Never before has the convergence of technology and medicine brought forth so many possibilities to improve people’s lives on a global scale, with the San Diego wireless health community leading the effort.”
The STSI is supported by the NIH's flagship program, Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and includes Scripps Health, the Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, the J. Craig Venter Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego State University, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Neurosciences Institute.
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