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iTEQC Research Projects

The iTEQC program has launched numerous high-profile research projects that have received support from national health organizations as well as private foundations.

Our projects include:

Help at Hand Evaluation Project »

Drs. Sorkin (PI) and Mukamel (Co-PI), Directors of iTEQC, received a $10.2 million contract from The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) to perform the statewide evaluation of the Help at Hand Evaluation Project.

This three-year demonstration project is funded and directed by the following counties in the State of California: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Kern County, Modoc County, and Mono County, Inyo County, Marin County, Monterey County, Riverside County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Barbara County, Tehama County, Tri-City, and City of Berkeley.

The California statewide collaborative project is designed to bring interactive technology-based mental health solutions into the public mental health system through a highly innovative set, or “suite”, of mobile applications. The first two applications are 7 Cups and Mindstrong. The objectives of the project are to:

  • Detect and acknowledge mental health symptoms sooner;
  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by promoting mental wellness
  • Increase access to the appropriate level of support and care;
  • Increase the purpose, belonging, and social connectedness of individuals served; and
  • Analyze and collect data to improve mental health needs assessment and service deliver

Year 1:

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 1 Quarter 1 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 1 Quarter 2 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 1 Quarter 3 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 1 (PDF)

Year 2:

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 2 Quarter 1 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 2 Quarter 2 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 2 Quarter 3 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation ReportYear 2 (PDF)

Year 3:

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 3 Quarter 1 & 2 (PDF)

Help@Hand Evaluation Report Year 3 (PDF)

Learning Briefs:

Learning Brief – Conceptualizing and Measuring Mental Health Stigma (PDF)

Nursing Home Comparison App »

NHCPlus is a $1-million project funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to create a sophisticated, personalized decision-making aid for hospital patients who are being discharged to nursing homes.

Building on the federal Nursing Home Compare (NHC) quality report card, NHCPlus assists patients in determining what qualities are important to them in a nursing home, then directs them to nursing homes that best match their preferences. NHCPlus leads to higher patient satisfaction, better quality and lower hospital costs.

Understanding Patient Attitudes About Lipid-lowering Medication »

uORACLE: Understanding Online Reactions to and Attitudes Concerning Lipid-lowering Medication is a pilot study funded by a $25,000 grant from the UC Irvine School of Medicine's Department of Medicine to test a hypotheses about the search patterns of patients seeking information in the era of the internet and widespread use of social media.

While the internet offers seemingly unlimited information about disease and treatment options, not all of it is evidence-based; some of the information is misleading. Specifically with hyperlipidemia, much of the available information is reliable, valid and based on scientific evidence. However, a considerable amount of information on the internet is anecdotal and non-representative.

When advised by physicians to start a statin, patients often seek additional information about cholesterol medication other sources and may choose not to follow their physicians’ recommendations. This study is designed to investigate patients’ search for information and the impact that information has on their decision whether or not to take statins for cholesterol treatment, as well as to evaluate the quality of the information viewed in their internet searches.

Early Pathogen Identification »

Our early pathogen identification project, funded with a $341,838 grant, is designed to explore the value of the timely identification of pathogens in patient settings.

Called A Single-Center Observational Study to Assess the Use of PCR in Pathogen Identification Compared to Culture-Based Test Methods and the Potential Impact of Antimicrobial Treatment, Clinical Outcomes and Hospital Charges in Patients with Skin and Soft Tissue Infections, this study uses Millennium Health’s molecular diagnostic test on specimens obtained from infections of the skin and soft tissues as compared to the current standard of care.

The hypothesis is that this innovative technology, which uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR), will enable earlier identification of pathogens and help treat patients faster as well as reduce the chance of antibiotic resistance.

Home Healthcare Cost Analysis »

The Cost of Home Health and Health Outcomes project, funded with $2.6 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is designed to answer the question, how much does it cost to improve the quality of home care, not only in the aggregate but also in specific health trajectories.

For example, how much does it cost at the margin to improve the performance of a home health agency by 10 percentage points on a scale measuring the percentage of patients with skin sores. This project is being conducted in partnership with the National Association of Home Health Agencies (NAHC) and will include a national survey of 12,000 agencies.

Neural and Behavioral Changes in Weight-Loss »

The Neural and Behavioral Changes in Weight-Loss Regimens project examines baseline and longitudinal differences in behavioral inhibitory responses and brain circuitry in a sample of Latina women participating in an individual versus dyadic weight loss intervention. Funded by a $25,000 grant from the UC Irvine Department of Medicine, this pilot study is designed to examine neural activity associated with the longitudinal development of self-regulation to high calorie, high fat foods in the context of a dyadic weight-loss intervention.

Inherent in the success of any weight-loss program is the fundamental change in health behaviors that occur by adopting self-regulatory eating behaviors that result in weight loss, such as shifting from impulsive food choices to controlled decision-making, inhibition and delayed gratification (e.g., portion control, reducing intake of sweets and high-fat foods, meal planning and preparation). Furthermore, we hypothesize that the support of a partner, with shared genetic and environmental health risks, would further bolster motivation and self-regulation in order to make significant, lasting behavioral changes.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine longitudinal neural activity associated with behavioral change and weight loss in the context of a behavioral intervention that is specifically designed to test the influence of interpersonal processes on weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

Where Do Patients Go App »

Where Do Patients Go (WDPG), a $400,000-project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to understand people’s preferences in healthcare settings. The goal is develop a web application that compares patient preferences for traditional settings — i.e., physician offices and emergency rooms — with new and emerging options, such as urgent care centers, retail clinics, virtual physician visits and home visit services.

As part of this project, we surveyed more than 20,000 UC Irvine employees and retirees, presenting them with hypothetical scenarios and asking them to choose which type of care setting they would go to in each circumstance.

With our web application, "Where Do Patients Go?" (WDPG), our survey results are now accessible to policymakers and to individuals interested in planning insurance benefits for populations or in developing services for populations in need of care for minor illnesses and injuries. The application allows users to run simulations for specific populations to determine how prices and wait times would affect patients’ choices between care settings.

These care settings are: physician offices, emergency departments, urgent care clinics, retail care clinics, nurse advice telephone lines, virtual physician visits (over computer, tablet or smart phone), physician home visits, or a wait-and-see strategy of delaying care.

Health App for Latina Breast Cancer Survivors »

Mi Salud, Mi Vida: A Self-Discovery Tool for Latina Breast Cancer Survivors is a mobile application project designed to promote health behavior change among Latina breast cancer survivors. The project, funded by a $100,000 grant from the NIH and the National Cancer Institute, is being conducted in partnership with a faculty member at the Cal State Fullerton School of Nursing.

We are building smartphone-based system called Mi Salud, Mi Vida (My Health, My Life) to enable breast cancer survivors to keep a record of their food intake, weight, exercise, fatigue, mood, pain and sleep, but also to choose from an additional set of functions to get personalized information about the relationship between a patient’s actions and/or mood states and her health behaviors.

The intent is to promote health behavior changes tailored to a woman's own preferences, thus increasing the likelihood of sustainability. In other words, in addition to providing general health knowledge, Mi Salud, Mi Vida is intended to promote the development of knowledge that is personalized for each woman.

Improving the Physician Referral Process »

The Real-Time Referral Program, funded by a $795,350 grant from the UC Office of the President Center for Health Quality and Innovation, is designed to improve access to specialty care services by enhancing communication between primary care and specialty care providers and facilitating electronic consultation.

The Real-Time Referral program includes an electronic health record platform based on structured electronic referrals (eReferral), allowing bi-directional communication and presenting decision support and expectations from the specialty practice to the referring provider at the moment of referral.

The platform is also intended to facilitate efficient communication of key clinical information and expectations from the referring provider. In appropriate cases, it also allows primary care physicians to request specialist input electronically (eConsult), in place of an office referral.

Understanding Ovarian Cancer Treatment Options »

PCOA is a $1.5-million project funded by the U.S. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) that is designed to help women diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer evaluate and choose the best treatment options for their individual needs.

Ovarian cancer patients are often faced with a difficult choice between a more toxic treatment — and hence, a lower quality of life — that promises longer survival, or traditional and less toxic treatments. PCOA helps patients understand all the options available to them, and to help them think through their personal preferences and needs to reach the best decision for their situation.

This is done in a shared decision-making model with the patient's healthcare provider.

Mobile Apps for Anticoagulation Treatment Adherence »

Mobile health applications to improve anticoagulation treatment adherence and reduce hospital readmissions is a project to develop mobile health applications (apps) that improve patient satisfaction with, and adherence to, anticoagulation therapy.

With a $30,000 award from Cardinal Health Foundation's E3 grant program, we will develop a culturally appropriate and age-sensitive patient-centered mobile app. The ultimate goal is to reduce hospital readmissions related to adverse events from anticoagulation therapy.

Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment in Primary-Care Settings »

Improving the Delivery of Mental Healthcare into Primary Care using Health Information Technology, a $1.1-million project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is designed to use health information technology (HIT) to address high rates of under-diagnosed and under-treated mental health concerns among under-resourced, limited-English proficient (LEP) patients, for whom the rate of depression in primary-care settings is high.

Primary care providers serve as the initial point of contact for the majority of patients with depression, yet about 50 percent of cases a thought to be unrecognized. The under-diagnosis of depression may be further exacerbated in limited English-language proficient (LEP) populations. Language barriers may result in less discussion of patients’ mental health needs and fewer referrals to mental health services, particularly given competing priorities of other medical conditions and providers’ time pressures.

Recent advances in HIT may facilitate novel ways to screen for depression in LEP populations. iTEQC has developed a multi-component approach to delivering culturally competent mental healthcare that includes:

  • Web-based provider training
  • Multimedia electronic screening of depression and PTSD in the patients’ primary language
  • Computer-generated risk assessment scores delivered directly to the provider
  • Clinical decision support

Study outcomes include assessing the potential of the HIT intervention to improve screening rates, clinical detection, provider initiation of treatment and patient outcomes for depression and PTSD among LEP Cambodian refugees, a population that experienced war atrocities and trauma under the Khmer Rouge during the late 1970s. This technology has the potential to be adapted for any LEP population to facilitate mental health screening and treatment in a primary-care setting.

Improving Anti-coagulation Therapy Among Elderly Hispanics »

Mobile Health Technology Among Elderly Hispanics on Anticoagulation Therapy is a project designed to develop a theory-based, culturally appropriate, elder-centered, interactive mobile health technology to improve self-care in older Hispanic adults who need anticoagulation therapy. It also will test the feasibility and acceptability of the study protocol in preparation for a randomized clinical trial.

The project is funded by a $40,000 grant from UCLA's Center for Health Improvement of Minority Elderly (CHIME), which is a Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) funded by the National Institute of Health/National Institute of Aging, and UC Irvine's Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS).

Improving Anti-coagulation Therapy Self-Management Skills »

A Technology-Driven Safety Intervention for Older Adults on Oral Anticoagulation Therapy is a focus-group study to identify older adults’ attitudes and preferences regarding health technology aids and health-related games that will improve their anticoagulation therapy self-management skills.

Findings from this qualitative study will be used to develop an elder-sensitive health technology for older adults on anticoagulation therapy. The study is funded by a $27,500 grant from UC Irvine's Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS).