Do-CHANGE stands for 'Do Cardiac Health: Advanced New Generation Ecosystem'. Mirela Habibovic is assistant professor at the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at Tilburg University and has been appointed by the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital for the Do-CHANGE project as researcher / project leader. She’s in it together with Professor Jos Widdershoven, who is a cardiologist at the hospital in Tilburg and has a chair at Tilburg University. The study is funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 program. Within the project two randomized controlled trials were already conducted (the first with 150 and the second with 250 cardiac patients) by the appointed PhD student Eva Broers.

A healthy lifestyle

Healthy weight, sufficient exercise, good sleep and healthy and varied eating. In the case of cardiovascular diseases, a healthy lifestyle is particularly important. The Do-CHANGE service is developed to assist cardiac patients in adopting a healthy lifestyle and improving their quality of life.

One app with access to all patient data

E-health is of great importance within Do-CHANGE. With new technologies, such as FitBit (activity tracker), Beddit (sleep tracker), COOKiT (cooking behavior) and FLUiT (fluid intake), the project aims to monitor patients’ behavior and gain valuable insights with respect to health behavior change. We all know how difficult it is to motivate patients to make changes, but it might be easier with fun gadgets. An app that integrates all these separate devices was created in collaboration with TU Eindhoven. The patient does not have to consult different apps, opening just one app suffices to learn about past and current activity levels, nutrition and sleep. In the future, medical data and GPS location data, which Do-CHANGE collects, will also be linked to this platform.

Do something different

In addition to collecting data, the app also provides a behavioral intervention with the aim to facilitate behavior change. Providing patients with fun gadgets is generally not sufficient to facilitate long term behavior change. For a period of three months, patients receive daily a short triggering message, a ‘To Do’. A message that helps patients to break through their daily habits and to do something different (e.g. ‘Take a picture of 3 nice things that you see now’). The theory behind this is that short interuptions of your daily habits will increase your personal flexibility, and make you more open to change in general.

Taking an ECG at home

The CarePortal, which is used within the Do-CHANGE project, is also innovative. The CarePortal is installed in cardiac patients’ homes and offers them the possibility of taking an ECG at home at any time within 20 seconds. Previously, you had to go to the hospital. The data is sent to a platform and the cardiologist logs in to see what the ECG looks like to (for example) change the medication. The CarePortal is also used to gather symptom data, blood pressure and weight on a daily basis.

The consortium

The consortium consists of 9 partners (public and private, for example Badalona Serveis AssistencialsEurocat and Smart Homes) representing 4 countries (The Netherlands, Spain, England, and Taiwan). Patients who participated in the two trials were recruited in the Netherlands, Spain and Taiwan.  Combining public and private knowledge and resources to create innovative app technology has created high added value despite the fact that it was sometimes challenging to align parties’ goals.

Personalized and context-dependent interventions

In the future, collected data will be used to develop an ecosystem where context-dependent advice, tailored to the individual, will be offered using, among other information, patients’ GPS locations. This provides a source of data for discovering behavioral patterns and developing personalized interventions. An additional aim is to deliver real-time interventions, that is, at the moment that undesirable behaviors take place. For example: if a cardiac patient starts to smoke, he/she will then be offered a distraction message or a healthier choice.

More about Do-CHANGE? Watch the video or visit http:/www.do-change.eu

 

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