Tami H. Wyatt, an associate professor in the College of Nursing, and Xueping Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering in the College of Engineering, have created a successful interdisciplinary partnership to improve health education for patients and nursing students.
In 2008, Wyatt and Li, along with two graduate students, teamed together to create an academic electronic health record program, called iCare. The program is used by healthcare students while examining “patients” in a simulated environment. The program teaches students how to assess a “patient’s” symptoms; record and retrieve such data as vital signs, physical assessments, and medication administration; and retrieve orders and diagnostic results.
Beta testing is underway as a result of awards from the Alliance of Women Philanthropists and the National Science Foundation. During this study, Li and Wyatt are gathering data to improve iCare and to determine how it improves teamwork, patient safety, and nursing skills. In December, Wyatt and Li expect to submit a Phase II proposal to the National Science Foundation with the goal of making iCare a marketable product.
Wyatt and Li are also working on another program, Okay with Asthma, designed for children between the ages 8 and 11. In 2003, Wyatt created the first version of this interactive narrative program for children with asthma. In 2009, Wyatt and Li received an award from the National Institutes of Health to improve the program. A professional storyteller from East Tennessee State University is working with the researchers to create compelling stories for the program. These stories will change and evolve as each child builds his or her own stories while using the program.
The latest version of the program is being tested with focus groups of children in Knox County schools. Once this study is complete, Wyatt and Li plan to submit a proposal to the National Institutes of Health to examine the influence of the interactive narrative on children’s attitude toward having asthma, their knowledge about the disease, and their asthma management behaviors. The results may offer insights into ways to manage other chronic illnesses in children, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cystic fibrosis.
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