Community Relations

Exploring Human Health with Technology

The 11th Street Family Health Service Center of Drexel University

Technology as it relates to the healthcare fields is continually evolving. Through the IHI, researchers seek more effective ways to leverage technology to improve patient care. The connectivity created by the IHI has played a role at the 11th Street Family Health Services Center of Drexel University, a state-of-the-art, nurse-managed health center providing area residents with a transdisciplinary model of care. This facility is unique in its approach to providing quality healthcare, providing patients treatment for their ailments, as well as addressing lifestyle issues that can affect health throughout their lifecycles. Nurses, physical therapists, nutritionists and fitness trainers all play a role in implementing health promotion programs through the clinic.

The program is coordinated by Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions, with support from the Dornsife School of Public Health, LeBow College of Business and the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI). Each school brings to the table varied skills and research backgrounds, contributing to the center's overall goals of providing quality health services and furthering the education and experience of health professions students.

Healthcare informatics plays a significant role at the clinic. CCI has been immersed in the project since 2007, with faculty analyzing the role of technology in patient safety and care and how best to efficiently disseminate important information to patients. A specific challenge IHI researchers are currently exploring involves analysis of the design and development of the center's current Electronic Medical Record. Most EMRs do not accommodate the trans-disciplinary care model, and cannot therefore capture the information needed to conduct the outcomes analysis. IHI researchers specializing in human-computer interaction are looking into new ways to create systems compatible with healthcare professionals' needs to better link data generated from all healthcare workers—nurses to nutritionists to dentists. These systems must be easy to use, and the information must be easy to access, with software developed so they are simple to explore. IHI's focus on the connection between technology and people and how information is stored and gathered places it in a position to answer all of these issues for the 11th Street Family Health Services Center—it is the goal of IHI researchers to develop workable systems for practicing professionals.