Engaging patients through digital health – the bant mobile application

In a recent edition of The Economist  (Feb. 3, 2018) entitled “DOCTOR YOU: How data will transform health care”, the authors discussed the transformative potential of timely access to personal health data enabling patients and their providers to implement care paths for improved outcomes.  To date, many pieces of a digital health record system are in place, but patients are still unable to access their data and health professionals are unable to reach out proactively for preventative and follow-up care.   Drs. Joe Cafazzo and Shivani Goyal (University Health Network and University of Toronto) are bridging this gap with innovations in digital communication. Their mobile app, called bant (after Sir Frederick Banting), originally designed for assisting the glucose monitoring in children with T1D, has evolved into a powerful tool assisting the self-management of individuals with T1D and T2D.  In partnership with eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network, bant is expanding beyond a self-management tool towards a portal for patient-driven diabetes self-care, where individuals can access their health information, securely communicate with their providers at critical moments, and easily engage in cutting-edge research initiatives across the country.  To achieve the latter, our teams are working to develop an e-Consent platform, and framework to enable patients to view relevant research studies, opt-in, consent, and control which data types are shared directly on their mobile device.  The bant mobile application will also engage researchers to remotely collect patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and administer study questionnaires/surveys at the desired frequency, directly on the patient’s mobile device (see figures below). This infrastructure will enable clinical researchers to more easily identify patients based on study criteria, present patients with targeted research opportunities and interventions, obtain consent and enrol patients into clinical trials directly through the system rather than traditional opportunistic recruitment methods, and link patient-reported outcomes and research data within the National Diabetes Repository.

Together, the National Diabetes Repository and the bant mobile application are necessary components of the Diabetes Action Canada digital health strategy and provide an unprecedented opportunity for managing diabetes and its related complications.

Conceptual design for use of the bant mobile application to obtain consent from persons living with diabetes to be contacted for clinical research opportunities.


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