Earlier today, the NIH announced it has awarded $143.8 million in grants to “to encourage creative ideas in science.” Among the 79 recipients are five Stanford researchers, including New Innovator Award winner C. Jason Wang, MD, PhD, who is designing a smart phone application to help patients adhere to doctors’ recommendations:
Wang plans to conduct a study in which each patient will select a reward that motivates him or her, such as receiving extra points for a favorite video game. Patients will be randomized to receive different kinds of “nudges” to promote healthy behavior, such as reminder messages or information about the benefits of the good behavior. The researchers will target four areas where treatment adherence is poor: tooth flossing; diet and exercise modification among obese patients; and asthma and diabetes treatment.
“This is the last mile of health-care delivery,” Wang said. “Doctors can follow treatment guidelines, but at the end of the day, if patients don’t follow through, treatment recommendations are not going to be effective.”