Information technology (IT) has fundamentally changed the way we work, bank, and communicate. Its impact on health care and health research, however, has been limited by the lack of a comprehensive infrastructure to connect patients, providers, and researchers. As we learn more about how to address the unhealthy behaviors that underlie many chronic conditions, researchers are seeking IT solutions to connect to patients in scalable ways.
Led by David Asch and Kevin Volpp, a team at the University of Pennsylvania created Way to Health, a web-based platform that provides a sustainable IT infrastructure for conducting behavioral economic studies. To date, the platform has been used successfully for a variety of research projects relating to improving health behaviors.
Way to Health gives researchers off-the-shelf tools to build customized websites and gives participants interactive online homes that can display their progress and report their data through integrated wireless biometric devices. In most cases, the participant interaction is minimal, because the platform automatically connects with medical devices.
Sample Way to Health projects include Heartstrong, a study looking at the effects of lotteries on medication adherence among patients after myocardial infarction, and, Way to Heart Health, a study looking at behavioral economic approaches to lowering cholesterol.
Further information about active and enrolling Way to Health research projects can be found here.
To learn more, read LDI’s On the Way to Health Issue Brief.