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University Teams Tap Mobile Phones And Social Networks To Fight Non-communicable Diseases

ARMONK, N.Y., Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New solutions developed by university teams could soon be harnessed to help manage the growing global problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as asthma, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO )

A social-media enabled support system for pregnant women with gestational diabetes and advanced smart-phone service could have tremendous impact as cost-effective tools to help manage diabetes and other diseases. These winning innovations and others were part of the NCD Challenge, sponsored by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Novartis (NYSE: NVS). The global competition was designed to bring together industry and academia to create innovative, easy-to-use solutions that fight the human and social burden of NCDs.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of all deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases which contribute to more than 60 percent of deaths worldwide. Over the coming decade, some 388 million people worldwide will die of one or more chronic illnesses and the cumulative losses in global economic output due to NCDs will total $47 trillion by 2030. Modest investments to prevent and treat NCDs could save tens of millions of lives and bring major economic returns.

Winners of the competition are Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and ESADE Business School-Universidad Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain. These winning solutions  for two categories, developing nations and developed nations, help address the problem.

"The NCD Challenge illustrates the type of ingenuity, motivation and accessibility that will help control the growing epidemic of NCDs in many parts of the world," said Katherine Holland, general manager, global life sciences, IBM. "Innovation such as this is key to a global strategy to improve care and build a more sustainable healthcare system."

Developing World Solution:

2Vidas - Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

2Vidas is a pharmacy-based membership program for low- to middle-income pregnant women to address the growing problem of diabetes in Mexico. The project's aim is to make a lasting health impact on two lives during a finite period in which women have increased motivation to take better care of themselves for the health of their babies.The program works by providing pregnant women access to monitoring tools at local pharmacies, support through peer-led sessions, and encouragement via positive SMS messaging that rewards self-management and offers health tips. The potential economic impact is the ability to save women 58-98% of out-of-pocket monitoring costs, depending on frequency of use, and the health system an average of $110 per enrolled woman per year through improved diabetes control - lowering the risk profile of the mother's pregnancy and baby's propensity for NCDs. 2Vidas membership program will deliver estimated $10.4 million in systemic cost savings and $475,000 in added value creation over five years. Team members included: Emily Ewell (team lead), Jenny Chang, Tara English, Rachel Sherman

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