Klasnja to develop application to help cardiac patients maintain healthy lifestyles

Predrag Klasnja

Assistant Professor of Information Predrag Klasnja has received a $1.9 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his project to develop and evaluate a personalized, adaptive health application to encourage cardiac rehabilitation patients to maintain physical activity. 

The R01 grant is the NIH’s standard independent research grant that provides four to five years of support and enough time and money to complete a project, publish results, and start writing an ensuing application in time to get an award before funding ends. Klasnja is the first UMSI faculty member to lead a successful R01 grant. 

As the principal investigator on this project, Klasnja leads a team that will seek to develop an application that will help cardiac patients monitor and maintain their physical activity after they have finished rehabilitation. Many patients are successful in managing risk factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, and high-fat diets while they are in rehabilitation, but tend to struggle to sustain these lifestyle changes once the program ends. 

The application would take advantage of the frequent interactions that individuals have with their mobile devices throughout the day, reminding patients of their health goals with the intent of increasing the likelihood that they will notice more opportunities to engage in physical activity. It would also be designed to provide actionable ideas on how patients can be active in their current setting.

By using the application, patients would be better able to plan and reflect on their physical activity and create more sustainable active lifestyles. The application will be designed to adapt its functioning for each patient over the period of use in order to minimize user burden and maximize its ability to encourage physical activity.

A user-centered design process will investigate the technology’s design requirements and the system will be evaluated in a year-long study with 60 coronary artery disease patients. The success of the project could provide cardiac patients with continuously available support to stay physically active in their daily lives and give researches a deeper understanding of technical and design requirements for long-term behavior-changing technologies.

Posted November 25, 2014