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Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering

See program guidelines for contact information.

Information and communications technologies are poised to transform our access to and participation in our own health and well-being.  The complexity of this challenge is being shaped by concomitant transformations to the fundamental nature of what it means to be healthy.  Having good health increasingly means managing our long-term care rather than sporadic treatment of acute conditions; it places greater emphasis on the management of wellness rather than healing illness; it acknowledges the role of home, family, and community as significant contributors to individual health and wellbeing as well as the changing demographics of an increasingly aging population; and it recognizes the technical feasibility of diagnosis, treatment, and care based on an individual's genetic makeup and lifestyle.  The substrate of 21st century healthcare will be computing and networking concepts and technologies whose transformative potential is tempered by unresolved core challenges in designing and optimizing them for applicability in this domain.

The goal of the Smart Health and Wellbeing program is to seek improvements in safe, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered health and wellness services through innovations in computer and information science and engineering.  Doing so requires leveraging the scientific methods and knowledge bases of a broad range of computing and communication research perspectives.

Some illustrative examples are described here.  Protecting patient privacy while providing legitimate anytime, anywhere access to health services will require new security and cryptographic solutions.  Personalized medicine will require advances in information retrieval, data mining, and decision support software systems.  Continuous monitoring and real-time, customized feedback on health and behavior will rely on remote and networked sensors and actuators, mobile platforms, novel interactive displays, and advances in computing and networking infrastructure.  Data collected by sensors, at clinics, and labs need to be anonymized and aggregated for community-wide health awareness and maintenance.  Such data, especially collected over populations, can lead to inferences about best practices and cost savings in providing health services.  Virtual worlds, robotics, image, and natural language understanding can facilitate better and more efficient delivery of health services.  Software-controlled and interoperable medical devices are necessary for providing safe critical care.  Healthcare systems and applications must be usable, to preclude or minimize failures due to human error; and they have to be useful, by matching the mental model of users, from provider to patient, so people make appropriate decisions and choices.  These examples are meant to convey the breadth of computing areas that can contribute to the general goals of Smart Health and Wellbeing program, but not to limit its scope.  We especially encourage the research community to pursue bold ideas that go beyond and/or combine these traditional areas of computer and information science and engineering.

Projects submitted to this program should be motivated by specific challenges in health and wellbeing.  The Smart Health and Wellbeing program aims to facilitate large-scale discoveries that yield long-term, transformative impact in how we treat illness and maintain our health.

Smart Health and Wellbeing Point of Contact:  Misha Pavel,  Point of Contact, Smart Health and Wellbeing Program,  Room 1125,  telephone: (703) 292-8930,  email: mpavel@nsf.gov

Funding Opportunities for Smart Health and Wellbeing: 

CISE Cross-Cutting Programs:  FY 2011  NSF 10-575

CISE Cross-Cutting Programs: FY 2011

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