The mHealth Research GroupMobile Health Innovation

The transdisciplinary mHealth Research Group at Northeastern University is studying how innovative, sensor-based technologies will positively disrupt healthcare and healthcare research as we know it. We envision a day when technologies allow better care delivery at much lower costs, by exploiting wearable and home sensors, mobile phones, and advanced human-computer interfaces. These same tools will enable persuasive technologies that help people improve their health throughout their lifespan, and power new research methods that accelerate health and medical research.

Personal, behavioral health informatics

Our focus is on what is called personal, behavioral health informatics – how sensor data acquired throughout everyday life from miniature mobile and in-home sensors might be used to improve wellness via novel human-computer interfaces. This research involves merging ideas from the computer science subfields of pattern recognition, machine learning, computational sensing, and artificial intelligence with ideas from behavioral science, behavioral medicine, social psychology, and preventive medicine. We are particularly interested in how algorithms that recognize everyday activities automatically or semi-automatically can drive the development of interactive preventive health tools that could ultimately be applied at the population scale in a cost-effect manner. Within computer science, this requires developing new user-driven activity detection algorithms that use statistical integration of contextual information when large activity training sets are not available. Within preventive medicine, this requires building and deploying pilot systems and demonstrating that the technology does have a real-world impact on health outcomes. As part of this work, we are working to create new tools that can be used to both measure and motivate behavior change taking advantage of emerging sensor-based technologies.This involves figuring out how to scientifically and mathematically measure and model behavior and decision making of people as they go about their everyday lives. For more on Personal Health Informatics, see this nice video on our PhD program.

Technology and team science

To achieve this goal, we work with collaborators throughout Northeastern University as well as at top medical research centers throughout the country (Stanford, Duke, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Southern California (USC), Case Western University, Harvard and others). Projects have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, industry, and Northeastern University.

Transdisciplinary research

The mHealth Research Group is based out of both the College of Computer and Information Science and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. We draw students and staff who are interested in pushing the limits of technology to alter healthcare as we know it today. It is the fusion of technology and health and behavior change theory where we aim to focus on our work, so that we innovate in both areas by leveraging advances in each.

Read about our physical lab…

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