The research program at the University of Miami encompasses two research projects and two collaborative projects. The focus is on work and healthcare. The focus of Research Project 1 is on older adults and telework. The project encompasses two interdependent studies. The initial study examines how personal and organizational factors impact on the job performance, health and well-being of teleworkers and how these relationships vary by age of the worker. The study will also gather data on managers'attitudes regarding the benefits and challenges of telework for both younger and older workers. The second study will use findings from the initial study, and develop, implement and evaluate interventions designed to maximize the potential of telework for older workers. A unique feature of the project is the opportunity to examine these issues with "personal nurses" from IntelliHealth who perform their job in both traditional and telework capacities. The project will also involve collaboration with Humana Corporation. Research Project 2 will focus on patient portals of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and involve two interdependent studies. The initial study will examine the usability of common patient portal systems of EMRs for older adults and how individual characteristics such as cognitive abilities, health literacy and education impact the ability of older people to successfully use these systems. We will focus on three broad classes of functions in which users are likely to engage when interacting with patient-oriented EMRs using simulations of existing EMR portals. Study 2 will build on the findings from study 1 and examine interface design interventions intended to maximize the usability of patient portals of EMR systems for older adults. Collaborative Project 1 will evaluate the acceptability, usability, and effectiveness of a newly developed easy to use telemonitoring system developed by Ideal Life that permits wireless transfer of physiological data to health care providers in clinical settings. The target population is hypertensive older adults who live in rural locations. The project will also gather information about the usefulness and usability of the system from the perspective of healthcare providers (Florida Community Health Centers). Collaborative Project 2 will develop, implement and evaluate a training program that focuses on core competency for software applications widely used in work settings. The target population is lower SES older adults whose employment opportunities are likely to be limited due to age and a lack of computer-based technological skills. The project will involve collaboration with two organizations: Experience Works and the National Institute of Health and Safety (NIOSH).

Public Health Relevance

The Research program is focused on maximizing the benefits of technology for older adults to enhance independent living, quality of life and continued productivity. The focus is on domains where technology is assuming an increasingly role, work and healthcare. Most older adults have at least one chronic condition and are need of and seek health care more than other age groups. In addition, for a variety of social and economic reasons many older adults need to continue working.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-3)
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University of Miami School of Medicine
Coral Gables
United States
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Taha, Jessica; Sharit, Joseph; Czaja, Sara J (2014) The impact of numeracy ability and technology skills on older adults' performance of health management tasks using a patient portal. J Appl Gerontol 33:416-36
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