Effects of Using Child Personas in the Development of a Digital Peer Support Service for Childhood Cancer Survivors

Background: Peer support services have the potential to support children who survive cancer by handling the physical, mental, and social challenges associated with survival and return to everyday life. Involving the children themselves in the design process allows for adapting services to authentic user behaviors and goals. As there are several challenges that put critical requirements on a user-centered design process, we developed a design method based on personas adapted to the particular needs of children that promotes health and handles a sensitive design context. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of using child personas in the development of a digital peer support service for childhood cancer survivors. Methods: The user group’s needs and behaviors were characterized based on cohort data and literature, focus group interviews with childhood cancer survivors (n=15, 8-12 years), stakeholder interviews with health care professionals and parents (n=13), user interviews, and observations. Data were interpreted and explained together with childhood cancer survivors (n=5) in three explorative design workshops and a validation workshop with children (n=7). Results: We present findings and insights on how to codesign child personas in the context of developing digital peer support services with childhood cancer survivors. The work resulted in three primary personas that model the behaviors, attitudes, and goals of three user archetypes tailored for developing health-promoting services in this particular use context. Additionally, we also report on the effects of using these personas in the design of a digital peer support service called Give Me a Break. Conclusions: By applying our progressive steps of data collection and analysis, we arrive at authentic child-personas that were successfully used to design and develop health-promoting services for children in vulnerable life stages. The child-personas serve as effective collaboration and communication aids for both internal and external purposes.
Journal of Medical Internet Research

Ecological Assessment of Clinicians’ Antipsychotic Prescription Habits in Psychiatric Inpatients: A Novel Web- and Mobile Phone–Based Prototype for a Dynamic Clinical Decision Support System

Background: Electronic prescribing devices with clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) hold the potential to significantly improve pharmacological treatment management. Objective: The aim of our study was to develop a novel Web- and mobile phone–based application to provide a dynamic CDSS by monitoring and analyzing practitioners’ antipsychotic prescription habits and simultaneously linking these data to inpatients’ symptom changes. Methods: We recruited 353 psychiatric inpatients whose symptom levels and prescribed medications were inputted into the MEmind application. We standardized all medications in the MEmind database using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system and the defined daily dose (DDD). For each patient, MEmind calculated an average for the daily dose prescribed for antipsychotics (using the N05A ATC code), prescribed daily dose (PDD), and the PDD to DDD ratio. Results: MEmind results found that antipsychotics were used by 61.5% (217/353) of inpatients, with the largest proportion being patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (33.4%, 118/353). Of the 217 patients, 137 (63.2%, 137/217) were administered pharmacological monotherapy and 80 (36.8%, 80/217) were administered polytherapy. Antipsychotics were used mostly in schizophrenia spectrum and related psychotic disorders, but they were also prescribed in other nonpsychotic diagnoses. Notably, we observed polypharmacy going against current antipsychotics guidelines. Conclusions: MEmind data indicated that antipsychotic polypharmacy and off-label use in inpatient units is commonly practiced. MEmind holds the potential to create a dynamic CDSS that provides real-time tracking of prescription practices and symptom change. Such feedback can help practitioners determine a maximally therapeutic drug treatment while avoiding unproductive overprescription and off-label use.
Journal of Medical Internet Research

The Role of Online Social Support in Supporting and Educating Parents of Young Children With Special Health Care Needs in the United States: A Scoping Review

Background: When parents of young children with special health care needs (CSHCN) receive their child’s diagnosis, they encounter information they may not understand, emotions they may not know how to cope with, and questions about their child’s immediate and long-term future that frequently lack answers. The challenge of health care providers is how to prepare parents for caring for their CSHCN, for coping with any resulting challenges, and for accessing the systems and services that can assist them. Objective: The purpose of this work was to review evidence of the information and support needs of parents of young CSHCN and to determine whether online social support can serve as an avenue for learning and empowerment for these parents. Methods: A scoping review identified the challenges, coping mechanisms, and support needs among parents of CSHCN, and the reach and effectiveness of digital technologies with these families and health care providers. We also conducted interviews with professionals serving parents of CSHCN. Results: The literature review and interviews suggested that parents best learn the information they need, and cope with the emotional challenges of raising a CSHCN, with support from other parents of CSHCN, and that young parents in recent years have most often been finding this parent-to-parent support through digital media, particularly social media, consistent with the theory of online social support. Evidence also shows that social media, particularly Facebook, is used by nearly all women aged 18-29 years across racial and socioeconomic lines in the United States. Conclusions: Parents of young CSHCN experience significant stress but gain understanding, receive support, and develop the ability to care for and be advocates for their child through parent-to-parent emotional and informational social support. Online social support is most effective with young adults of childbearing age, with social media and apps being the most useful within the theoretical framework of social support. This opens new opportunities to effectively educate and support parents of young CSHCN. Providers seeking to inform, educate, and support families of CSHCN should develop strategies to help parents find and use social support through digital resources to facilitate their emotional adjustment and practical abilities to care for and access services for their child.
Journal of Medical Internet Research

Certification/MU tweaks to support patient subscriptions

This is a quick description of the minimum requirements to turn patient-mediated “transmit” into a usable system for feeding clinical data to a patient’s preferred endpoints. In my blog post last month, I described a small, incremental “trust tweak” asking ONC and CMS to converge on the Blue Button Patient Trust Bundle, so that any … Continue reading “Certification/MU tweaks to support patient subscriptions”
SMART Health IT

Linguistic and Cultural Adaptation of a Computer-Based Counseling Program (CARE+ Spanish) to Support HIV Treatment Adherence and Risk Reduction for People Living With HIV/AIDS: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease in the United States disproportionately affects minorities, including Latinos. Barriers including language are associated with lower antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence seen among Latinos, yet ART and interventions for clinic visit adherence are rarely developed or delivered in Spanish. Objective: The aim was to adapt a computer-based counseling tool, demonstrated to reduce HIV-1 viral load and sexual risk transmission in a population of English-speaking adults, for use during routine clinical visits for an HIV-positive Spanish-speaking population (CARE+ Spanish); the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was the theoretical framework guiding program development. Methods: A longitudinal randomized controlled trial was conducted from June 4, 2010 to March 29, 2012. Participants were recruited from a comprehensive HIV treatment center comprising three clinics in New York City. Eligibility criteria were (1) adults (age ≥18 years), (2) Latino birth or ancestry, (3) speaks Spanish (mono- or multilingual), and (4) on antiretrovirals. Linear and generalized mixed linear effects models were used to analyze primary outcomes, which included ART adherence, sexual transmission risk behaviors, and HIV-1 viral loads. Exit interviews were offered to purposively selected intervention participants to explore cultural acceptability of the tool among participants, and focus groups explored the acceptability and system efficiency issues among clinic providers, using the TAM framework. Results: A total of 494 Spanish-speaking HIV clinic attendees were enrolled and randomly assigned to the intervention (arm A: n=253) or risk assessment-only control (arm B, n=241) group and followed up at 3-month intervals for one year. Gender distribution was 296 (68.4%) male, 110 (25.4%) female, and 10 (2.3%) transgender. By study end, 433 of 494 (87.7%) participants were retained. Although intervention participants had reduced viral loads, increased ART adherence and decreased sexual transmission risk behaviors over time, these findings were not statistically significant. We also conducted 61 qualitative exit interviews with participants and two focus groups with a total of 16 providers. Conclusions: A computer-based counseling tool grounded in the TAM theoretical model and delivered in Spanish was acceptable and feasible to implement in a high-volume HIV clinic setting. It was able to provide evidence-based, linguistically appropriate ART adherence support without requiring additional staff time, bilingual status, or translation services. We found that language preferences and cultural acceptability of a computer-based counseling tool exist on a continuum in our urban Spanish-speaking population. Theoretical frameworks of technology’s usefulness for behavioral modification need further exploration in other languages and cultures. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01013935; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01013935 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6ikaD3MT7)
Journal of Medical Internet Research

MACRA / MIPS Comment: We need API Support!

Today is the last day of the comment period for CMS’s MACRA and MIPS proposed rules. Below, we share a comment we submitted promoting the use of APIs for patient and provider access alike. CMS states that priorities for “Advancing care information” are patient engagement, electronic access, and information exchange: > These measures have a … Continue reading “MACRA / MIPS Comment: We need API Support!”
SMART Health IT