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Technology, Social Media and Behavior Change

Technology, Social Media and Behavior Change

Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, was an invited presenter at The Colorado Cancer Coalition Annual Symposium held November 8-9, 2018 in Lakewood, Colorado. The mission of the Coalition is to eliminate the burden of cancer in Colorado. This year’s symposium, Elevating Personalized Cancer Care in Colorado, shared updates on innovative cancer care in Colorado and provided education and networking opportunities for professionals who work in cancer prevention, control, treatment, and survivorship.

Dr. Myers spoke about Technology, Social Media and Behavior Change in a session on Using Technology and Social Media to Advance Your Mission. She addressed multiple types of mHealth and eHealth technologies and the research behind their use in implementing health behavior change programs. Using her active research project Caminemos Juntas as an example, she was able to showcase how a smartphone app like Caminemos Juntas can be used to help Latina women overcome barriers to physical activity.

Dr. Myers said, “The benefit of technologies and digital health tools is that they have the capacity to be used in the real world with real people. That is their appeal.” She also stressed the importance of the use of digital technologies saying, “People who normally wouldn’t have access to empirically based and theory driven interventions now have access to them, so it really promotes the ability for scale up. I think this is where individual clinical trial-based health and public health come together really well, because you can translate what’s been done in rigorous trials and get it to the people to see if you can move the needle on these health behaviors.”

In addition to its importance, Dr. Myers said that digital health technologies such as mHealth and eHealth are “the way to get interventions in the hands of people that may never have been exposed to this messaging. If it can reach those individuals who have been neglected traditionally by health intervention and also meet people in a place where they feel comfortable and safe and are ready for change, then that excites me.”

KB scientists and staff have been active members of the Colorado Cancer Coalition and its Skin Cancer Task Force for over a decade.

Precision Pain Management App for Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease

Precision Pain Management App for Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease

Dr. Valerie Myers, KB Senior Scientist, is presenting a poster on the Pinpoint Project at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Pinpoint: Gaming Technology to Engage Adolescent Sickle Cell Patients in Precision Pain Management” was a Phase I SBIR project that examined the feasibility and acceptability of a gamified tablet application intended to encourage teens (aged 13-17) to assess and talk about their sickle cell disease (SCD) pain. SCD is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S. and affects primarily African Americans and Hispanics. Approximately, 1,000 U.S. children are born with SCD annually. SCD complications can be serious and have a significant impact on well-being and quality of life.

Pain is the hallmark symptom associated with SCD and is the primary cause of SCD-related hospital admissions. Accurate assessment of pain specifiers (type, frequency, and intensity of pain) can help with ameliorating pain quickly and effectively. Reducing barriers to collection and promoting the value of accurate SCD pain assessment is a need in pediatric medicine. The interactive games for health literacy among youths have shown video games can improve self-efficacy; stimulate health discussions with friends, family, and clinical team; encourage seeking support and advice, and can emphasize behavior acquisition via experiential learning. Interactive games can provide information about causes, treatments, and self-care options, and can improve self-care and reduced emergency clinical utilization.

The Pinpoint app prototype for tablets and smartphones consisted of a Pain Assessment Tool, vocabulary game, body scanner reflection, educational self-disclosure activity, and excerpts from the Hope and Destiny Jr. book authored by Hsu, Rodrigues, and Brandalise. Four healthcare providers were interviewed on the app’s acceptability and potential function within the clinical practice. Sixteen teens participated in cognitive interviews, focus groups, and usability testing. The System Usability Scale (SUS), a validated tool for assessing the usability and acceptability of technological products, served as the primary outcome. The preliminary SUS score well above average, suggesting a high level of acceptability and usability among users. The conference poster will include final project outcomes and the plan for the future development of the full Pinpoint app.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R43MD010746; Dr. Valerie Myers, PI). Research collaborators included Mary Buller from KB, and Dr. Hilton Hudson and Megan Lippert from the Hilton Publishing Company, publishers of the Hope & Destiny and Hope & Destiny Jr. sickle cell disease management books.

Welcome to the new KB Collaboratory!

Welcome to the new KB Collaboratory!

Welcome to the new KB Collaboratory – a fresh new edition of Klein Buendel’s blog. The KB Collaboratory complements our newly-designed website and disseminates timely information about our behavioral health research and collaborations.

Because we’re a “small bunch,” KB’s behavioral scientists, research staff, and developers collaborate with researchers, clinicians, and creatives from companies, universities, research institutes, and cancer centers around the world to design programs and products to prevent chronic disease. Along with our research publications, conference presentations, website, and social media, this blog is a dynamic outlet for sharing the health communication, education, and technology research that we do in collaboration with our distinguished research, business, and creative partners.

Watch for articles and features in the KB Collaboratory on our:

  • Research collaborators
  • Abstracts and conference presentations
  • Publications
  • New research projects
  • Technology and products
  • Outreach and education
  • News and announcements

If you’d like to get in touch, please email Mary Buller at mbuller@kleinbuendel.com.