The ORCATECH Collaborative Aging (in Place) Research Using Technology (CART) program develops and validates an infrastructure for rapid and effective conduct of research utilizing technology to facilitate aging in place (AiP). CART is a unique and innovative research organization to enjoin expert leaders from academia and industry with broad-based experience across multiple fields: gerontology, clinical medicine, health care, psychology, user interaction, systems science, engineering, computer science, technology, data science, business development, ethics and public policy. This CART team works closely together to leverage existing considerable infrastructure, with members from ORCATECH at Oregon Health & Science University, Intel, VA (VISN20), Rush University, Oregon State University, University of Pennsylvania and CREATE (Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement) at University of Miami. As a result, our CART will work rapidly, building on an already-existing system demonstrated as adaptable and sustainable for over a decade. In years 1-3 we will apply a systems development life cycle approach with iterative user- centered design and technology and infrastructure creation. To ensure sustained use and ecological validity of the data, the design is as unobtrusive as possible for research participants, as well as technology agnostic. In year 4 the developed system will be assessed in a Demonstration Project with an original AiP hypothesis fundamental to CART research: whether the system created provides evidence for sustained independence. We introduce innovative AiP methods including: a unique Personal Health and Activity Record, combining functionality of a personal health record with ecological momentary assessment capacity; novel use of Bluetooth beacon technology to assess activity of couples and caregivers; assessment of community travel (e.g., driving); and an assessment tool to predict sustainable engagement in future CART research. We rigorously test the AiP hypothesis and these innovations in 360 participants from four diverse senior populations: residents in low income, section 202 housing; veterans in the rural Pacific Northwest; African Americans and other minorities in Chicago (Minority Aging Research Study) and Miami (PRISM study). The secure extensible data system for CART's multidimensional and hierarchical data will accommodate multiple, evolving data ontologies and schema. CART's Data Repository and communications plan will facilitate data and resource sharing of multiple users of different levels of sophistication ensuring the widest impact and dissemination. Several sustainability models will be evaluated to ensure the success of a larger CART phase II effort, resulting in the high-impact research enterprise needed to create evidence for effective assessments and interventions to sustain health and independence for the growing aging population.
The rapid growth in our aging population will have an enormous impact on health care systems and care providers over the next few decades, requiring the development of creative approaches to ensure effective treatment and management of chronic diseases in the elderly, both to improve the quality of life, and also to reduce hospitalizations. This proposal develops and validates a CART research enterprise that integrates diverse data, incorporates existing systems and can accommodate future technologies. The research infrastructure and system proposed is designed to assess, predict and intervene across a variety of observational and clinical research studies and settings, and for a range of measures, diseases and populations focused on aging in place research.
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