Asthma is the most common pediatric chronic illness in the US and associated with significant health care burden. Despite advances in treatment, asthma control in children remains generally poor. Poor control is associated with physiological and behavioral factors as well as with environmental exposures. While research efforts have been devoted to studying the impact of physiological and behavioral factors on asthma, research on the effects of environmental exposures in children with asthma is limited. Recent advances in sensor technologies offer new ways to measure environmental exposures and improve asthma research. However, use of sensor data in research remains uncommon and multiple barriers exist. Sensor data are complex, being variable in structure from sensor to sensor, high volume and acquired at a high frequency (e.g. every minute or more), and multi-dimensional, with sensor data linked to geo-spatial location, time, and description of exposures. Further, sensors lack standards for data collection and data exchange of environmental exposures, lack common data elements, have inadequate interfaces for families, and lack of secure communication modalities for data transmission. Moreover, little effort has been made to integrate sensor data with clinical data, making it difficult to study the actual effects of the environment on asthma. The proposed PRISMS - Informatics Federation Architecture Center provides standard-based, open access architecture and standardized processes for acquisition, integration, and management of sensor data, along with clinical data from longitudinal assessments of asthma symptoms, quality of life, health care usage, and other asthma related outcome metrics. Specifically, we propose to develop three synergistic and tightly integrated projects that make up an innovative sensor monitoring system, including: Project 1: Develop infrastructure and software to facilitate data acquisition and information exchange. We will develop a platform for mobile apps to support data extraction from the child's home and environment sensors, and data processing and user-friendly interface for data presentation to the participants. Project 2: Develop a high-resolution data integration platform that will provide the common core, allowing sensor data to be integrated with clinical data, and mechanisms for securely transmitting data to the PRISMS data coordinating center. This project will leverage existing Open Further architecture, open source frameworks that promote code reusability and interoperability. Project 3: Develop a platform for researchers with flexible user interface to configure a variety of experimental designs. We will use user-centered design to develop both user and researcher interfaces. These projects are tightly integrated, linked by the architecture in project 2. Overall, these projects will standardize data collection from environmental various sensors, data integration with clinical data and presentation to enhance research to improve our knowledge of the impact of environmental exposures on children with asthma.

Public Health Relevance

Asthma is one of the most common childhood illnesses in the U.S. and associated with significant health care burden. Findings from this project will provide an effective, flexible and open access approach to collecting and managing high-resolution data from sensors, based on logical data models for the clinically relevant exposure (environmental exposure) information that can be integrated with clinical data. This provides key infrastructure for the PRISMS program, which will support studies to evaluate environmental, physiological, and behavioral factors that influence pediatric asthma and other chronic conditions in children, thereby improving the management and treatment of those conditions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-Z (52))
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Pai, Vinay Manjunath
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University of Utah
Salt Lake City
United States
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Vercellino, Robert J; Sleeth, Darrah K; Handy, Rodney G et al. (2018) Laboratory evaluation of a low-cost, real-time, aerosol multi-sensor. J Occup Environ Hyg 15:559-567