Empowering Patients Through Data Transparency and Technology, Phase 1

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People are increasingly able to access, share, and even generate information about their health through various platforms. Although having this ability can encourage patients to be more engaged in their care, access to data does not always translate into more patient engagement or better health outcomes. With a better understanding of how data availability can mobilize patients, software designers and health care providers would be better able to maximize the potential of these platforms to engage patients, improve outcomes, and decrease costs. A research team at Harvard will seek to develop a conceptual framework to explain how health data transparency mobilizes patients and helps patients achieve specific health objectives. The team will also inventory data-sharing platforms for patient engagement and develop a comparative typology of the models' design features, populations served, and modes of engagement employed. The qualitative and quantitative data collected through this process will be illustrated in eight comparative case studies. If this work is successful, the team will propose a second phase of work to empirically test different platforms, with the goal of identifying the design attributes and conditions most critical for turning data availability into patient engagement. This study will show how the sharing of health care information with patients can be optimized to promote behavioral change and engagement in care. This work could also stimulate experimentation in online and mobile health tool development. Dissemination of project findings will target the designers and funders of patient engagement tools and platforms, care providers, and policymakers.

Grant Details

Grantee Organization:
President and Fellows of Harvard College
Principal Investigator:
Archon Fung, Ph.D.
Award Amount:
$150,887.00
Approval Date:
April 11, 2017

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