Connection to Health
Taking Research to ScaleRobert | Family Medicine Apr 1, 2020
In this latest Research Reachout story, we chat with DFM’s Bonnie Jortberg about a project that is near and dear to her heart. It’s called Connection to Health. And, Bonnie says that after years of quality research, this health improvement and goal-setting tool is ready for launch into the commercial market. Can you say APP?
Give us a brief overview of what Connection to Health is.
Connection to Health (CTH) is a web-based program that assists patients with chronic conditions to collaborate with their health care team to develop health goals and action plans.
Key features of CTH include a web-based patient survey, action plan, motivational prompts via text or email, and a robust patient resource website (all available in Spanish).
CTH was developed by world-renowned experts in diabetes and self-management support at the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine and the University of San Francisco Department of Family and Community Medicine. These two Universities have received over 10 years of funding from the National Institute of Health to develop and test the efficacy of CTH for primary care practice implementation and improving patient outcomes related to diabetes.
What kind of results have you measured thus far? How successful is it?
Our two Universities have received two rounds of NIH funding over the past 10 years. During this time, we have tested the efficacy for implementation of CTH into 48 primary care practices in Colorado and Northern California, enrolling over 1,500 patients.
Our results have been impressive: patients who completed a CTH patient survey and action plan with their health care team saw a significant decrease in the hemoglobin A1c levels, compared with patients with diabetes who did not complete the CTH patient survey and action plan.
What, in your mind, is the next logical step for Connection to Health?
CTH fits well within primary care practices and major health systems.
Through our NIH grant funding, we have demonstrated that CTH can be successfully implemented into primary care practices, and importantly, improve an important diabetes outcome – decrease in hemoglobin A1c levels.
Since CTH is web-based, it can be implemented as part of patient portals, and health coaching can be conducted virtually. Because of these features, CTH is also ideal for care management and health coaching organizations.
What makes Connection to Health different from other health-related apps on the market?
CTH is the only health-related app on the market that has been tested in randomized controlled trials to demonstrated acceptability and efficacy for improving patient outcomes. No other health-related app has been researched as thoroughly as CTH.
Additionally, CTH products (patient survey, action plan, patient resources) are available in Spanish, and have a narration feature in both English and Spanish for low-literacy patients.
What steps are you taking now to make Connection to Health market-ready? What are your biggest hurdles?
We have already improved CTH products and website to be patient and user-friendly. Results from our two studies have found widespread acceptability by patients.
We are looking into availability on the EPIC App Orchard so that CTH can be integrated into EHRs. We are also looking into the possibility of developing a CTH patient app.