For patients with HIV and other chronic conditions, taking medicines daily and exactly as prescribed is crucial for quality of life and long-term health. To support this regimen, team leaders Jenna Marquard of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and Deepak Ganesan, computer science, recently received a four-year, $1.71-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a cost-effective, easy-to-use device similar to a fitness tracker for maintaining a medication regime. See articles in Springfield Republican and Hampshire Gazette and the News Office release.
Marquard, whose research specializes in health informatics and human factors engineering, notes that the project is a design as well as a technology challenge. “The solution needs to fit seamlessly into patients’ patterns of daily living,” she explains. “If we don’t carefully attend to their needs in our design, the likelihood that our system will improve medication adherence is limited.”
Failure to adhere to a lifelong medication antiviral therapy increases HIV patients’ risks of drug resistance and loss of future treatment options, among other consequences, say Marquard and Ganesan. They will work with Dr. Barry Saver and others at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and the University of Washington.