A large number of people over the age of 65 require assistance managing their medical care. Much of this responsibility falls on the relatives of older adults. The role of family caregivers has become increasingly important as our population ages and medical care becomes more complicated and fragmented. Research indicates that family members are often unprepared to manage and coordinate duties that may involve administering multiple medications and types of service. There is, therefore, a great need to help caregivers in managing the medical regimens of elderly relatives. Web-based services have the advantage of flexibility in access, tailoring of individual training needs, and multi-dimensional functionality. The focus of this project will be to develop an interactive web-based program to help caregivers with managing medication administration and medical care of their elderly relatives. ISA Associates, in partnership with a team of expert consultants and the Redmon Group, will develop and pilot test the prototype during Phase I of the project. The primary objectives of Phase I are to (1) lay the groundwork for developing a product capable of addressing the varied needs of caregivers, (2) determine the technology that is best suited for helping caregivers in a time-efficient and effective manner, and (3) conduct an analysis and test of the program to promote our scientific understanding of caregivers needs and best practices (among web-based interventions) for meeting these needs. To accomplish these objectives ISA will build on its'extensive experience in developing health-related interventions, most notably the SmartRx Program for women and the Healthy Past 50 Program for healthy workplaces. In Phase I, ISA will conduct 2 pre-development focus groups to determine the content and technical needs of program users. ISA will also work with experts in the fields of gerontology, pharmacology, and public policy to create science-driven and functionally relevant information. Following these activities, project staff will develop the prototype for the program - fully developing the medication management module during Phase I and developing the structure for the Phase II modules. A review of the prototype and a comparison website will be conducted, with participants rating the two websites to determine the feasibility of the program in meeting desired program goals. If the prototype program passes these established feasibility criteria, it will be fully developed, tested in an experimental field design, and prepared for marketing during Phase II.

Public Health Relevance

This project aims to develop a web-based program focusing on improving the ability of caregivers to effectively manage medication administration and medical care monitoring in the elderly. This program will provide users with the information, skills, and tools needed to prevent medical problems. Innovative technologies such as automated reminders on doctor's appointments, bi-directional or personalized messaging, and downloadable medical histories will be explored for incorporation in the program. The goal of the program will be to help organize and address the multiple management issues faced by the elderly and their caregivers. Upon successful development and testing of the program a broad-based commercialization plan will be initiated. Markets for the program include workplaces, large insurers/managed behavioral health organizations, pharmacy and pharmaceutical companies, and home-health care providers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (10))
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Bhattacharyya, Partha
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Isa Associates, Inc.
United States
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