Partners study to focus on mobile's role in stress management

A Partners HealthCare Connected Health study will assess the value of mobile devices in stress management and provide a unique peek at such research to attendees of the organization’s symposium this fall in Boston.

The "StressLess" study will involve Partners’ two-year-old cHealth Compass tool, which was developed to better understand what consumers want and how they use personal health technologies. Participants will use two health assessment devices, the Muse and the Spire, to evaluate what Joseph Kvedar (pictured right), vice president for connected health at Partners, describes as a “dose-response effect,” when it comes to stress reduction, quality of life, stress resilience and usability of the two devices. The Spire tracks symptoms such as respiration rate, while the Muse is a meditation aid featuring sensors for measuring electric brain frequencies.

Attendees registered for the Connected Health Symposium are eligible to enroll in the StressLess study, according to Kvedar, with a total of 126 individuals participating in the nine-week randomized controlled study. All participants will receive a Spire device, but some will also receive a Muse device, he says.

During the two-week baseline period, the Spire user feedback will be turned off. During the six-week intervention period, the first group will activate the user feedback tool; the second group will keep the Spire user feedback off and begin using the Muse device.

There will be a panel session at the 2016 Connected Health Symposium to discuss the lessons learned.

I’m excited to offer our symposium participants the opportunity to participate in this important study and get a birds-eye view of how we conduct clinical research, its impact and the role of study participants,” Kvedar says. “We strongly believe in a patient-centered approach to developing and deploying connected health products. Including the end users--consumers--in every step of the innovation process ensures that products will actually solve problems individuals face, and lead to better adoption and engagement."

Kvedar believes such research ultimately should move away from testing technologies to focusing on design aspects of interventions that predict intervention success.

“Mobile health interventions that are separate and distinct from a patient’s ongoing care are less likely to be successful than those that are integrated,” he says. “In order to make connected health tools ‘addictive,’ we’ve found what ultimately works is simple design combined with the right, highly personalized motivational strategies that resonate with each individual at just the right time, when he or she needs it most. If adherence to a program is low, it will not be successful. Early phase, pre-clinical trial testing of interventions should include work to fine tune design features that promote adherence.”

For more information:
- read more on StressLess study