Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Wayne Lam, Larry Dragich, Sebastian Bos

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
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in 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 and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, 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 form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!