Digital Health Research

Digital Health Initiative Infographic

Digital health research is being conducted through the Digital Health Initiative (DHI) at CHOP to enable an innovative, yet accountable, digital health revolution. Our researchers are taking a systematic approach to digital health intervention development and evaluation. This line of research includes the following projects organized within two main areas of concentration: Improving Pediatric Health Through Technology and Evaluating eHealth Applications.

Improving Pediatric Health Through Technology Projects

  • iAPP (Integrating Apps Into Pediatric Practice): A CHOP Chair’s Initiative project, this study aims to develop a process to integrate evidence-based and evaluated health apps for families into pediatric care at CHOP in order to improve health outcomes.The major goals of this project are to develop a hospital-wide process to evaluate apps for introduction into clinical care and an evaluation of this process through a proof of concept implementation of a mobile health app for “prescribing” to parents/patients by providers.
    Project Team Members: Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Alex Fiks, MD, MSCE; Lindsay Berrigan, MPH; Emily Sykes, BS
  • Promise of Digital Communication Technology to Advance Car Seat Installation: This study aimed to determine how parents/caregivers use existing materials to install child restraint systems (CRS), examined parent/caregiver perspectives on using smartphones as a tool to improve installation, and developed and user-tested a clickable mobile app. This project was implemented in four phases, which involved focus groups, a national survey, app prototype development, and prototype user-testing. Based on responses, parents/caregivers value visual, interactive resources for car seat installation beyond the user manual that are available on their everyday mobile devices. Further development and testing of the app prototype will be conducted in coordination with Safekids Worldwide.
    Project Team Members
    : Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Katie Halkyard, MPH; Marisol Norris, PhD candidate, Drexel University; Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE; Jessica Mirman, PhD
  • Implementation of eHealth Child Safety Tools: This study aimed to assess pediatric care providers’ awareness and self-reported use of both print and digital child safety materials produced byCIRP@CHOP. While primary care professionals expressed an interest in using more digital education tools for pediatric injury prevention, there are major barriers to the use of these tools at practice, provider and patient levels, such as lack of time to explain to families how to navigate specified websites and lack of patient access to adequate network connections. To overcome these barriers and to increase adoption, these tools will need to be aligned to the practice environment and patient needs. Future research will explore parent/caretaker perspectives, values, and preferences about using digital health patient education tools for child passenger safety.
    Project Team Members: Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Flaura Winston, MD, PhD; Katie Halkyard, MPH
  • Exploring Perceptions of Evidence in Digital Health: Perspectives of Developers and Patients: Using a national survey to consumers, this study explored consumers’ perceptions and value of evidence in digital health and how it influences decision-making in using health apps. Over half (60 percent) of consumers have downloaded an app on their mobile device to help track, manage, or find information. Credibility, cost, and ratings from other users were the most influential factors for consumers in the decision to download an app. Other important factors for consumers were the privacy and security of their health information and having a type of regulation or oversight of mobile medical devices and apps.
    Project Team Members: Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Wes Hutchinson, PhD (Wharton); Flaura Winston, MD, PhD; Katie Halkyard, MPH; Venk Kandadai, MPH

    Access and share an infographic about the research.

Evaluating eHealth Applications Projects

  • Reaching Better Health Study: This project seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of a consumer-facing website that was developed for those with chronic diseases to increase their engagement in self-management and medication adherence. The main objective is to determine whether utilization of this website can impact behavioral and clinical outcomes of adults with Type 2 diabetes, one of the most common chronic illnesses among adults in the United States.
    Project Team Members: Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD; Flaura Winston, MD, PhD; Nicole Chisholm-Fregene, BS; Emily Sykes, BS; Deanna Brown, BS
  • Enabling an Evidence-based Digital Health Revolution Through Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Evaluation: A User-Centered Inferface Design prototype was developed based on previous research (IWEIS) to ensure the functionality of a Do-It-Yourself mHealth evaluation platform that incorporates rigorous research methods and approaches into easy-to-use software for mHealth app developers.
    Project Team Members: Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Flaura Winston, MD, PhD; Venk Kandadai, MPH; Katie Halkyard, MPH
  • Engineering the Evaluation of Online Health & Wellness Promotion Applications: The Interactive Web-enabled Research System (IWERS) is a software platform for the delivery and evaluation of online applications in disease prevention. This technological breakthrough was commercialized through the development of an Innovation Ecosystem at CIRP@CHOP.
    Project Team Members: Flaura Winston, MD, PhD; Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD; Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH; Kristen Kohser, MSW; Venk Kendadai, MPH

Read about CHOP's new mHealth Research Affinity Group.