Deborah Estrin

Sensemaking for Mobile Health

Mobile health (mHealth) leverages the power and ubiquity of mobile and cloud technologies to support patients and clinicians in monitoring and understanding symptoms, side effects and treatment outside the clinical setting; thereby closing the feedback loops of self-care, clinical-care, and personal-evidence-creation. However, to realize this promise, we must develop new data capture, processing and modeling techniques to convert the ‘digital exhaust’ emitted by mobile phone use into behavioral biomarkers. This calls for a modular layered sensemaking framework in which low level state classifications of raw data (e.g., estimated activity states such as sitting, walking, driving from continuous accelerometer and location traces), are used to derive mid-level semantic features (e.g., total number of ambulatory minutes, number of hours spent out of house), that can then be mapped to particular behavioral biomarkers for specific diseases (e.g., chronic pain, GI disfunction, MS, fatigue, depression, etc). The techniques needed to derive these markers will range from simple functions to machine learning classifiers, and will need to fuse diverse data types, but all will need to cope with noisy, erratic data sources. We are working to build an open architecture and community to speed the rate and robustness of innovation in this space, both academic and commercial.


About Deborah Estrin

Deborah Estrin

Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at the new Cornell Tech campus in New York City and a Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is co-founder of the non-profit startup, Open mHealth. She was previously on faculty at UCLA and Founding Director of the NSF Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS). Estrin is a pioneer in networked sensing, which uses mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world and the people who occupy it. Estrin’s current focus is on mobile health (mhealth), leveraging the programmability, proximity, and pervasiveness of mobile devices and the cloud for health management. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

  • Professor, Computer Science, Cornell Tech, NYC
  • Professor, Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Co-Founder, Open mHealth

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