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Brain, Behavior, and Cancer Seminar Series January 30, 2013, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Hillman Cancer Center, Cooper Conference Room C

Mobile Technologies to Support Self-Management


Annette De Vito Dabbs, PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor and Department Chair
Acute and Tertiary Care
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Self‐management, a process in which patients and clinicians collaborate to prevent, detect, and manage problems that arise with chronic illness, includes self‐care behaviors performed by patients in conjunction with supportive behaviors performed by clinicians. Our work addresses a critical

clinical problem: the need for interventions to promote patient‐clinician partnerships to improve self‐management of chronic illness. This work builds on preliminary studies that: 1) substantiated the need for interventions to promote self‐management among patients with chronic illness (specifically lung transplant patients); 2) developed and tested Pocket PATH® (Personal Assistant for Tracking Health), a Smartphone intervention to activate patients and promote patients’ self‐care; 3) conducted a full‐scale, RCT to test the efficacy of Pocket PATH in promoting selfcare behaviors and improving transplant‐related health; and 4) expanded our research focus beyond the patient to design and test Pocket PATH Link, a web‐based clinician interface, culminating in the development of Pocket PATH Synergy, a health IT solution that combines the functionality of Pocket PATH (for patient use) with Pocket PATH Link (for remote data sharing and communication between patients and clinicians) to support patients and clinicians working together to promote self‐management. Findings: 1) the current RCT shows evidence of the superiority of Pocket PATH relative to standard care in promoting patient self‐management behaviors and reducing rates of re‐hospitalization in the first year post‐transplant, 2) the pilot trial of Pocket PATH Synergy provides evidence of its feasibility, acceptability, and usefulness, and pilot evidence that patients’ self‐monitoring behaviors improved when remote data were shared with clinicians through Pocket PATH Synergy compared to Pocket PATH alone. These findings are encouraging because, while early results of the RCT showed that Pocket PATH was more efficacious than standard care, the behaviors tended to decline over time. Although cardio‐thoracic transplantation (CTT) serves as the exemplar chronic illness population, this health IT intervention has the potential to have a broader impact by promoting self‐management behaviors and health outcomes for persons with other chronic illnesses.

The Brain, Behavior, and Cancer Seminar Series is sponsored by the Biobehavioral Medicine in Oncology Program and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.  For more information regarding the seminar series, please contact Dolores Oliver at