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Improving care for low-birth-weight infants
Date:3/5/2010

Irvine, Calif., March 5, 2010 Researchers at UC Irvine and the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) will monitor the day-to-day health of low-birth-weight babies and their parents as part of a comprehensive initiative designed to combat chronic illnesses associated with low-weight births.

Gillian Hayes, UCI informatics professor, and Karen Cheng, CDU psychiatry and human behavior professor, were awarded a $480,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to explore how recorded observations of daily living (ODLs) can be used to improve clinical care for low-weight babies.

Hayes and Cheng were among five research teams in the nation selected by RWJF through its Project HealthDesign: Rethinking the Power and Potential of Personal Health Records national program to receive two-year grants that will test how health information technology can help people become more informed patients and better healthcare consumers. The grantees will work with patients to explore how day-to-day information such as stress levels of caregivers of premature infants and medication-taking routines of seniors at risk of cognitive decline can be collected, interpreted and acted upon by patients as well as clinicians in real-world clinical settings.

For their project, Hayes and Cheng will use mobile technology to collect and report ODLs that can enable changes in clinical practices and alert healthcare providers earlier to potential problems. The team will develop a mobile application for parents of preterm infants, called FitBaby, which builds on Hayes' past work with Dr. Dan Cooper, a UCI professor of pediatrics. The system enables parents to easily record ODLs on smartphones, including feeding times, weight measurements, baby's activity and how parents deal with the stress of caring for an at-risk infant. The system also automatically tracks some observations through sensors in the environment.

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Contact: Sherry L.K. Main
sherry@uci.edu
949-824-1562
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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