Saturday, November 5, 2011

Snapshots on Lessons Learned

“Project HealthDesign” a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Pioneer Portfolio” supports research teams working alongside patients and clinicians to help develop personal health applications useful to patients managing chronic diseases.

Current “Project HealthDesign” teams are working with patients and clinicians to examine how patient-sourced observations found in daily living such as pain, mood and energy levels can be captured and integrated into clinical care and influence daily health decision-making.

Five grantee teams are working with a variety of patient populations using technologies such as smartphones and sensors and designing applications that can effectively and efficiently be incorporated into care processes used by real patients and providers. The team is working with the University of California at Berkeley, Healthy Communities Foundation, and the University of California at San Francisco.

The new RWJF report “Project HealthDesign: Early findings and Challenges” gives several snapshots on lessons learned. For example, chronically ill patients are eager to try technologies to help them take charge of their health. Because symptoms can fluctuate hourly, Crohn’s disease is a complicated condition for both patients and clinicians to manage.

Clinicians rely on patients to self-report their symptoms using an iPad during office visits, but these accounts may provide an incomplete picture of the patient’s health. However, Crohn’s patients tend to be highly motivated and willing to try new technologies and approaches that might limit their symptoms or improve their quality of life.

Project HealthDesign’s “Crohnology.MD” team developed a mobile application to help Crohn’s patients track pain levels, along with other Observations of Daily Living (ODL) symptoms. They also developed a mobile application that allows clinicians to view summary level or detailed reports of ODL data collected by patients. The use of technology enables patients to accurately record their day-to-day ODL and symptoms and helps clinicians to obtain a more robust picture of their patient’s health.

Other grantee teams include “BreathEasy” which is using smart phones with patients who have asthma, “dwellSense” uses household sensors to monitor how elders complete routing tasks, the “Estrellita” team is using smartphones to gather information from their caregivers with high-risk infants, and the “in Touch” team is using iPod Touch to monitor ODL pertaining to obese teenagers as to the amount of exercise, moods, food intake, that they consume or the socializing that they do with other people.

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