Project HealthDesign Workshop and Emerging ODL Themes

This post originally appeared on the Project HealthDesign Blog.

Libby Dowdall, Communications Coordinator, Project HealthDesign National Program Office

We routinely hold workshops that allow the five Project HealthDesign teams, the national program office and other project advisers to meet in person. At a recent workshop at the Vanderbilt Center for Better Health, we focused on the evaluation phase of the project.

During the workshop, we identified several themes that resonate across the five teams:

Patients and clinicians have different perspectives on which ODLs are important.
The observations of daily living (ODLs) that are crucial to a particular patient’s daily life and health may not seem as important to his or her clinician. Or, a patient may grow tired of collecting data about an ODL that the clinician finds important. In “Whose ODLs Are They Anyway?” on Pioneering Ideas, Steve Downs, chief technology and information officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, further examines this difference in perspective, and also details the Crohnology.MD team’s innovative approach to negotiating common ground between the two perspectives.

Patients may want flexibility in how they use ODLs.
Because the projects are breaking new ground as they look to see whether and how ODLs enter the clinical decision-making process, several teams left a measure of flexibility for patient preference. They recognized that even though patient and clinician focus groups helped to choose and prioritize the ODLs tracked in each study, each individual patient might value another ODL that is not part of the study’s standard ODL set. The iN Touch team, for example, allows participants to choose an extra function in The Carrot platform that they’re interested in tracking. Additionally, each participant in the BreathEasy study will be able to use a journal feature to write narratives pertaining to the ODLs that matter to him or her.

Clinical workflow varies by team, but several use “intermediaries” to review ODL data.
The five project teams were chosen, in part, for the various types of clinical partners with which they work. Thus, it is no surprise that each project team has taken a different approach to incorporating ODLs into the clinical workflow. We were intrigued, however, to see that several teams are using an “intermediary,” such as a health coach or nurse, to routinely analyze the ODL data and act upon the findings.

Our teams are beginning to recruit (and even enroll) patients for the evaluation phase of their projects. We’re excited to think that data is already being collected from sensors in several elders’ apartments as they use the phone, and dozens of overweight teens are meeting regularly with their health coaches and collecting ODLs. Rest assured that the teams will soon be sharing new developments as their studies progress!