Health Care Access

Jul 22, 2019
folder_opencategory: Medicine

The Internet communication is becoming a significant source of data for patients with various health issues; women suffering from breast cancer are among those patients (Siegel, Naishadham, & Jemal, 2012). Unfortunately, few web-based sources dedicated to this problem incorporate private information from an electronic health record with educational and psychosocial support content about cancer cure and care management that should be based on behavioral and health communication strategies. As a result, Dr. Kuang-Yi Wen established the MyHealthPortal project, the purpose of which is to explore these issues in detail. This paper will analyze this project, its objectives, and its effectiveness.

AHRQ grant currently finances the MyHealthPortal project (MyHealthPortal, n.d.). The program’s current budget constitutes more than $700,000. This project was proposed it 2010, but it started only in August 2011. The program will research the upcoming efforts of dealing with the patients’ data in the form of electronic medical records as a method of transferring the theoretically focused intervention content in a combined portal layout. The model of care and the procedure employed in the improvement of the integrated portal have a prospect for a wide-scale distribution in the current health care system. The MyHealthPortal research aims to develop and evaluate an integrated personal health records information portal system for breast cancer patients with tools to access and understand their medical records and manage their care by means of the utilization of the available resources for decision support, information retrieval, and clinical and peer communication.

The main objective of the current project is to advance Dr. Wen’s long-term goal of creating an independent research program to evaluate, develop, and publicize quality enhancement initiatives designed for the advancement of patient health care. Studies show (Ashing-Giwa, & Lim, 2010; Fors et al., 2011) that breast cancer patients report that practitioners often do not understand their psychosocial and communication desires. Additionally, patients report the need for data and skills to manage their illness, major life changes, and emotional problems that usually accompany the condition. It is obvious that such activities should take place within ambulatory settings and be based on the use of health data records via communication technology. The principal investigator of this project is a well-qualified health systems engineer with postdoctoral training in psychosocial medicine and medical informatics. Therefore, the grant allows Dr. Wen to achieve her aim through a five-year career research program that includes educational training and mentored research. Moreover, the usage of online electronic medical records has the potential to improve health outcomes as well. Didactic materials, which are accessible via a patient’s electronic medical record, help clients understand their clinical information and support them by integrated health communication approaches in an all-inclusive arrangement.

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The MyHealthPortal research (n.d.) has two main objectives. The first one is to integrate private patient information from a medical record with didactic and support content about breast cancer management, decision-making, and care organization into the research project’s portal. The second objective of this project is to enhance Dr. Wen’s career development through education and training activities, develop a patient-centered web-based MyHealthPortal for breast cancer patients undergoing treatment in a Comprehensive Cancer Center, and conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial study to assess the feasibility and potential impact of the MyHealthPortal system with early-stage breast cancer patients. Henceforth, the research team developed the text, narrative, and interface of the portal’s front-page. Likewise, the team studied other patient portals and a research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that established a special health record application that presents information to patients with chronic illnesses. Moreover, the combination of mentoring and structured projects equipped Dr. Wen with the knowledge and skills necessary for the improvement as an independent researcher in the capacity of utilizing and integrating patient-centered data technology into the medicine settings. While expanding and inspiring the author’’ prior research involvement in interactive health communication methods, the proposed projects also extend Dr. Wen’s study into a new aspect: the proposal of patient-accessible electronic records.

The overall AHRQ funding amount is $747,959. The research is supposed to be finished in July 2016. Thus, the approximate amount of funding per month is $12,412. Unfortunately, if to take into account the size of salary, the number of team members, and other expenses, including the software and engineering services costs, the budget seems to be rather small. Moreover, the information regarding cost containment is missing in the description of this research proposal. Thus, it is still unknown how the researchers are trying to find a solution in terms of the realization of this research project.

However, the author clearly states the strategic goal of the MyHealthPortal project (n.d.). The plan is to develop and disseminate various health IT indication and evidence-based tools to improve the quality of the health care system and to conduct the realization and coordination of electronic exchange of health data to increase the quality of health care. Dr. Wen’s interdisciplinary preparation plan consists of a research of the fields of health services, with an emphasis on medical informatics useful to clinical research. Likewise, human factors and usability engineering will significantly reinforce and augment her grounding in these areas. Therefore, the strategic plan has assembled a mentorship and accessing team that extends these specialties, which guide the research perspectives during the training and in the application of these disciplines to this research.

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Further, using an iterative developmental process, the MyHealthPortal research project (n.d.) will be accomplished through four phases of the research strategy plan to guarantee a user-orientated design and the approval of the portal by the target audience and health care workers. The first phase is the survey of the existing established portal users’ consummation with the current portal, and the identification of the features that need improvement. The second phase is a qualitative exploration and identification of breast cancer patients’ data preference for the MyHealthPortal. The third phase is a qualitative exploration study of breast cancer clinicians’ approaches and opportunities regarding the establishment of a patient portal that incorporates common medical records and electronic communication proficiency that will effect doctor-patient interactions. The fourth phase presupposes both cognitive user and usability testing for the system modification to maximize MyHealthPortal’s efficacy and patients’ fulfillment. Once fully developed, the research results will allow to evaluate the probability of the portal system in a test randomized trial study with an aim to examine MyHealthPortal’s effects on the subjects’ outcomes including cancer-related distress, evidence competence, managing self-efficacy, life quality, and communication. 

In an attempt to promote health and control the quality of health care, Wen, Fang, and Ma (2014) found that breast cancer population amongst Asian American women reported changes in their diet patterns. Further, the researchers discovered that Asian Americans were more likely to intensify their physical activity levels and to improve their stress managing skills. Therefore, such innervation as a creation of the platform for e-communication between patients and doctors gives all the chances to control the patients’ behavior during cancer treatment. This offers positive engagements of this prospect for patients with breast cancer and helps researchers to control the quality of healthcare. 

The project’s results focus on a requirement to comprehend cultural dissimilarities and to include the language and social issues in breast cancer patients amongst Asian American patients to improve the culturally applicable and linguistically correct interventions (Wen, Fang, & Ma, 2014). The findings of the research and will be applicable to the breast cancer population, but they could also serve as a model for integrated system development and implementation among other cancer populations. The research also provides preliminary data to support the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the MyHealthPortal system in a larger study. The MyHealthPortal platform provides a structure that expands the traditional framework by including cultural and socio-ecological dimensions. The MyHealthPortal project includes four individual-level dimensions and four system-level dimensions. The individual-level contextual dimensions consist of individual-level factors and observations regarding the capability of cancer survivorship, including physical, psychological, and medical-related issues, as well as health preparation and medical obedience. The system-level measurements include designated contextual factors external to the individual that are verified to effect the survivorship experience, including demographic, socio-ecological, cultural, and health care system variables.

Thus, the findings of the MyHealthPortal project research lead to the developmental process that will not only be applicable to the breast cancer population but also other cancer populations. Fortunately, the authors recognize that it is critical to base the research on the existing studies with the aim to improve ethnically tailored and appropriate medications to advance the current state of health and to reduce the level of breast cancer death rate among this quickly growing cultural minority population. The AHRQ grant provides researchers with significant funds to conducting a rigorous healthcare system’s quality improvement research through the utilization of health data tools and facilitates the improvement of advanced interdisciplinary abilities. Therefore, this program does not waste taxpayer money. It is valuable for its exploration as the insights and findings will affect the breast cancer population and their life quality.

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