As announced in the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center’s (TATRC) www.tatrc.org Spring newsletter, TATRC has partnered on a multi-phased research project with the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), program and Clemson University’s Department of Public Services www.clemson.edu.
The project was initiated to monitor diabetic patients in their homes using the patient’s personal cell phone and home biosensors. The primary goal was to improve the capabilities of current mhealth technology for use in the PCMH environment. In addition, the purpose was to provide chronic care patients with Type 2 diabetes, the ability to self-manage their disease.
Both the mobile application and the web-based portal allow for home monitoring data to be viewed as a seven day summary to include data on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, activity, and weight. The data can also be viewed as a single day, a seven day, or a 20 day view.
Patients can add notes to their readings on their mobile devices plus providers can roll over the data points on the graphs to view the notes. Also, providers can access the data in a text-based summary below the individual graphs via the web-based portal.
Both patients and providers can sort the graphs so they can quickly see trends such as blood glucose levels before and after meals. Safety mechanisms are embedded into the system, alerting patients to treat incidences of dangerously low or high blood glucose levels, or if needed seek medical assistance.
To do the study, users needed to engage with the virtual health software in a systematic way, so that end user issues could be identified, refined, and resolved prior to launching a larger scale deployment.
Phase 1 of this project focused on usability as patients were introduced to software features. Patients also reviewed the FDA approved home monitoring devices to include a glucose meter, blood pressure cuffs, and scales.
In January 2017, a multidisciplinary team completed an analysis of the Phase 1 effort and looked at the feasibility and usability of the current system features in accordance with PMH user design principles and clinical workflow integration.
The focus group found at the end of Phase 1:
- 100 % of the patients felt that mobile apps and home monitoring devices helped manage their diabetes
- 100% of the patients felt that the mobile app would give their provider a better report on their health
- Clinicians were pleased with the mCare system and were optimistic about the backend portal and the patient application
Phase 2 will explore the feasibility for 240 diabetic patients. Outcomes for Phase 2 will evaluate self-management behaviors, medication adherence, patient satisfaction, quality of life, clinical measures, system usability, and usage statistics to enable discussion on the future of patient monitoring between clinical encounters.
Go to www.tatrc.org to view the March 2017 issue of TATRC Times.