Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Reinhard Brandstädter, Pat Romanski, Jeev Trika, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan

News Feed Item

A Social Networking Approach To Public Health Research Raises Hypoglycemia Awareness

Using social tools, study probes the magnitude of hypoglycemia and promotes behavior change among participants

BOSTON, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hypoglycemia may be a much larger problem among patients with diabetes than is currently realized, according to a study of members of a diabetes-focused social network conducted by researchers in Boston Children's Hospital's Informatics Program (CHIP). The study shows how engaging patients in research through social networking may help augment traditional surveillance methods for public health research, while simultaneously offering opportunities to promote healthy behaviors among participants.

The study team, led by Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc, and Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, of the Intelligent Health Laboratory (IHL) in CHIP, published their findings online on Feb. 11 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Hypoglycemia is a serious side effect of diabetes treatment where a patient's blood sugar level goes too low. Hypoglycemic episodes can be unpredictable and can lead to unconsciousness, accidents and injuries. Worries about hypoglycemia can also severely impact patients' work, activities and quality of life.

However, the true extent of hypoglycemia and its effects among people with diabetes is not well understood, as the only surveillance numbers for hypoglycemia come from emergency room visits and clinical trial reports.

"We don't know much about how populations with diabetes in general experience insulin effects and complications like hypoglycemia," said Weitzman, a social-behavioral scientist at Boston Children's and the study's director. "Insulin is widely used, but we don't have a grasp of how many patients experience hypoglycemic episodes that are not severe enough to merit emergency treatment. Learning more about hypoglycemia requires engaging a broad pool of patients as collaborators in health research—a model enabled by social media."

Recognizing the limitations of traditional surveillance methods and systems for collecting population-level data on diabetes complications, Weitzman and Mandl turned to a cohort of people with diabetes recruited through the online social network TuDiabetes.org. The researchers had previously worked with TuDiabetes to develop and launch a social networking app called TuAnalyze and engage TuDiabetes members in real time, participatory surveillance of hemoglobin A1c levels (a health metric used to measure diabetes control over a prolonged period of time), feeding back data to participants using maps and graphs. TuAnalyze is based on CHIP's Indivo personally controlled health record platform and implements controls that let users preserve the privacy of their personal health information.

This time, the pair called on TuDiabetes members to use TuAnalyze to share information about the frequency with which they experience episodes of hypoglycemia. They also asked members reporting recent or severe hypoglycemic episodes for details about their lifetime experiences of significant impacts or harms (e.g., vehicle crashes, withdrawal from daily activities in order to avoid hypoglycemia) caused by hypoglycemia.

In a break from typical surveillance and reporting methods, data from the cohort were aggregated and posted back to the participants as they were analyzed via a research blog within TuAnalyze, a participatory approach that Mandl and Weitzman have long advocated. "This new approach, which we call participatory surveillance, establishes a bidirectional communications link between public health and consumers," explained Mandl, who directs the IHL. "It lets us tap the community for crowd-sourced information, but also feed results back and implement behavior change strategies."

Of the 613 TuAnalyze users who offered up data for the study (representing about a quarter of all TuAnalyze users), nearly half reported more than four episodes of "going low" in the previous two weeks and about 30 percent reported at least one severe hypoglycemic episode—one resulting in unconsciousness or seizure, or one which required glucagon, medical treatment and/or help from another person—within the last year. More than half of the respondents reported experiencing more than one impact or harm related to hypoglycemia, including avoiding exercise, daily debilitating worry and accidents or injuries.

Measures of engagement on the part of the cohort showed that the participants both exhibited great interest in the study's findings and acted quickly on them.

"People in the community picked up on the data and started talking about how to better manage their diabetes day to day," Weitzman said. "Seeing that conversation, we could make midstream corrections in how we presented the data to the community so as to increase the health impact and keep them more aware of what was going on."

"With this participatory approach, we're taking a platform developed for a research purpose and turning it into a way to help promote and manage care," she continued. "People are talking about how the results and the discussion online around them make them think about their health behaviors and care. The burden is now on us as researchers and public health practitioners to devise strategies to encourage these conversations and build tools that are impactful and effective for promoting better health outcomes." 

Mandl added, "We see the participatory surveillance approach as a new model for public health reporting across conditions and health issues."

The study was supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant PO1HK000088-01), the National Library of Medicine (R01LM007677 and G08LM009778) and the National Center for Research Resources (U54RR025224).

Boston Children's Hospital is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 11 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children's today is a 395-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Boston Children's also is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about research and clinical innovation at Boston Children's, visit: http://vectorblog.org/.

Contact:
Keri Stedman
Boston Children's Hospital
617-919-3110
[email protected]

SOURCE Boston Children's Hospital

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...