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Georgia Institute of Technology
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Augmenting Cystic Fibrosis Management Using Smart Device with Web2.0 Applications

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that is caused by an abnormality in the gene that codes for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein. CF is the most common life-shortening inherited disease in Caucasians, and is associated with significant morbidity and healthcare utilization. Its treatment is complex and (as no cure is available) lifelong, but with aggressive care and attention, survival and quality of life can be maintained. This presents significant challenges to patients for whom good disease self-management skills and adherence to a demanding schedule of treatment is life-saving but severely challenging. The cornerstone of treatment to preserve respiratory function in CF is the daily use of airway clearance augmentation therapies. One of the most common airway clearance modalities is the High Frequency Chest Wall Compression unit, generally known as "the Vest". The use of this effective device is important, but estimates of adherence suggest that it is well under 50%. Adherence to therapy is typically difficult to measure, so any efforts to promote it are compromised by an inability to measure the success of the attempted interventions. In addition to the therapies, Treatment includes pancreatic enzyme supplementation and the consumption of a high calorie diet. The latter is deceptively difficult, and as challenging to accomplish as a low-calorie diet for weight loss in the general population. Calorie counting is a complex undertaking and presents significant challenges to patients.

In this proposed research, we will use health information technology (HIT) to assist in the measurement of adherence to Vest therapy and in the measurement of caloric intake. Smart phone platform with Web2.0 will be our primary tool to provide the management. Using the proposed platform and methods, we will collect preliminary data primarily to prove the feasibility of our methods; these can then be used in future studies of interventions that promote adherence to the use of the Vest, or to methods for improving caloric intake and weight gain.

Investigators: Myung Choi (Georgia Tech Research Institute) and Michael Schechter (Emory University)

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