CDHI

The Center for Digital Health Interventions.

As I wrap up my year-long sabbatical in Switzerland, during which I was a visitor at ETH Zürich, I am grateful to have been part of the innovative team at the Center for Digital Health Interventions (CDHI). Led by Profs. Elgar Fleisch and Tobias Kowatsch and jointly operated by ETH and the University of St. Gallen, the center is working on a range of important problems, interesting studies, and innovative technologies: passive health-sensing techniques in smartphones, smartwatches, and cars; stress detection; asthmatic cough detection and breathing-exercise games for asthmatics; machine learning to predict when a person might be receptive to health-intervention messages; chat bots to engage and encourage people involved in health interventions; systems to detect hypoglycemia in the driver of a car; passive interventions that can occur while driving; and more.

The CDHI offices (and me!) are reflected in the building across the street, August 2019.

Although my visit has been scientifically productive and rewarding, it is really the people who have made the visit so delightful. The faculty welcomed me by encouraging and enabling me to be involved wherever I seemed interested; my officemates patiently answered all my questions about Zürich and Switzerland; the graduate students adopted me into their lunchtime group outings; and the staff assisted me with all the complex logistics of moving to, living in, and departing from Switzerland. Just a portion of the team is pictured below. I am proud to have been part of this group for the past year, and hope I can return again some day!

Group photo, ETH-St.Gallen lab ski day at Obersaxen, Switzerland.

mHealth workshop

We hosted a scientific workshop at IISc.

I have recently become very interested in mHealth, that is, the application of mobile computing and communications technology to healthcare.  Here in India, many believe that India’s pressing healthcare needs could benefit from judicious application of information technology. Mobile-computing technology may be particularly helpful, for example, by improving access to healthcare, by encouraging personal health management, and by enabling patient and provider mobility. Wearable medical devices are emerging, to measure pulse, respiration, ECG, blood glucose level, and patient mobility. Handheld devices support clinicians in urban hospitals, and portable diagnostic kits allow remote healthcare teams to more easily reach rural villages.  The widespread availability of mobile phones, and recent experiments with low-cost, long-range broadband wireless networks, bring connectivity to all these opportunities. Read on.

A panel discussion at the IISc mHealth workshop.
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