UCLA has completed an iPad pilot to help patients manage chronic intestinal disorders and is now enrolling people in the program.
Patients, doctors and specialized nurses at
the University of California
Los Angeles Health System
are using the Apple iPad to track symptoms for
chronic intestinal disorders such as colitis and communicate in real time.
UCLA announced Sept. 12 that it had completed
a pilot stage and was now enrolling about 250 patients in the program.
The iPad program at UCLA is part of the
university's effort to provide value-based care for each patient. UCLA measures
a "value quotient" (VQ) to compare the value of services to patients
with health care costs.
In addition to intestinal ailments, UCLA
plans to expand the program to other chronic diseases such as heart failure,
diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD). The health system will also create apps for tablets and smartphones to
help manage these chronic diseases.
By managing chronic conditions through monitoring,
early intervention and education on the iPad, people can have a better quality
of life, according to UCLA.
"The idea is to have UCLA in your back
pocket," Dr. Daniel Hommes, a professor of medicine at UCLA, told eWEEK.
The application is currently Web-based, but
UCLA is working with Apple to design a native app for iOS. This native app will
be available by the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013, said Hommes.
The iPad will allow physicians to interact
with patients from day to day and intervene early, if necessary, he said.
Patients use a Web-based program on the iPad
called Home Care, which has several modules for patient support. It
incorporates a tool called My Academy that enables patients to take tests to
gauge their knowledge about their condition. The program also teaches the
patients about medication that treats their ailments.
Home Care incorporates gaming rewards as
patients get a star when they complete various modules, said Hommes.
Patients answer questions in an interactive
app on the iPad about their disease activities, quality of life and work
productivity. Doctors and nurses then receive the answers in real time.
"For us, the most important thing to
achieve here is patient empowerment," said Hommes.
As educated patients take control of their
conditions by using the mobile tool, they could use the health care system
less, he suggested.
After reviewing patients' answers, doctors
may adjust patients' medication, schedule appointments or conduct remote counseling
using the iPad's FaceTime application.
"We're moving toward virtual
hospitals," said Hommes, who noted that by using telehealth, patients
won't have to travel to their locations such as Westwood and Santa Monica in
These remote consulting capabilities will be
"the next big thing in health care affordability," said Hommes.
Providing virtual care should increase the
quality of care delivery and reduce health care costs, said Hommes.
The Home Care application also incorporates
My Coach, a tool that provides help or support for anxiety, isolation and
depression, which can result from having a chronic condition. Another module,
called My Work, assesses work productivity.
In addition, an around-the-clock messaging
tool in Home Care allows doctors and nurses to keep track of patient symptoms
and refill prescriptions. This messaging tool and quick response time helps to
relieve some of the "burden" of a patient's condition, said Hommes.
In the future, UCLA plans for patients to
receive a benefit from health plans for using the iPad app.