The George Washington University (GW) researchers have been awarded two grants from the McKesson Foundation as part of its Mobilizing for Health initiative, an initiative to improve the health of underserved populations with chronic diseases through the use of mobile-phone technology. The Mobilizing for Health grants, of up to $250,000 each, will support studies on diabetes care and management. GW researchers received two of the six grants awarded in a national competition.
“We are honored to be the recipient of these grants. We know that finding the most effective ways to work with modernized technology to provide education, disease information, and disease management for patients, is important for better health outcomes,” Jeffrey S. Akman, MD, interim vice provost for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at GW, stated in a press release.
One of the grants will provide support for a study that will examine the use of SMS messaging to reduce emergency department visits for people with diabetes. Researchers, led by Joshua Cohen, MD, professor of medicine, in the division of endocrinology, and Neal Sikka, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, in the Department of Emergency Medicine, at GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, will evaluate the impact of a mobile-phone-based text messaging system, compared with usual emergency department (ED) practice, on recurrent ED utilization by individuals with diabetes, and in increasing their diabetes self-care practices. Through this study, information on diabetes will be pushed directly to study participants’ mobile phones through SMS test messaging. Additionally, study participants will be able to transmit information about their diabetes management to study personnel, to obtain information about their follow-up at their primary care medical practice, and to request additional information. It is anticipated that the information provided to the study subjects through their cell phones will result in increased knowledge about diabetes and improved self-care behaviors.
The other study will be a randomized, controlled trial of a cell-phone based software application for patients with diabetes and hypertension , led by Samir Patel, MD, associate professor of medicine, in the division of renal diseases and hypertension, who is the principal investigator on the grant, and Richard Katz, MD, bloedorn professor of medicine and director in the division of cardiology, at GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, who serves as the co- investigator on the grant. The software application allows patients to monitor their blood glucose and blood pressure, aggregate and share the patient derived information with case managers and primary care providers through existing electronic medical records. The intervention is designed to integrate into the current Chronic Care Model in community clinics to enhance patient self-monitoring, patient education, and information flow between patients, case managers and health care providers. The researchers aim to create a scalable and sustainable care model centered on the cell phone based application, The study will also explore the potential for medication error reduction and perform a cost analysis of the intervention.