TuDiabetes and Children's Hospital Boston launch online effort to map U.S. diabetes metrics
May 19, 2010
Berkeley, Calif. -- TuDiabetes.org, a social network for people touched by diabetes, has partnered with Children's Hospital Boston in the creation and launch of a new application called "TuAnalyze," which has been made available on its network this week. The application enables members to submit a key health metric known as Hemoglobin A1C as part of a massive data donation drive.
The information submitted by members will be displayed in a map of the United States on the TuDiabetes network, with states lighting up according to the aggregate A1c data. Once a threshold of participants in each state is reached, the state's color reflects whether the average A1c submitted is within the range recommended by physicians.
Hemoglobin A1C, or A1c, is a health metric used to measure diabetes control over a prolonged period of time. Physicians recommend that people with diabetes have this critical measurement taken 2 to 4 times a year. The American Diabetes Association recommends a goal A1c value of below 7 percent.
"Our goal is to light up the U.S. with A1c values," said Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetes and President of the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF), the nonprofit that runs the site. "We anticipate that participation in this sharing of medical information will encourage individuals in their own diabetes management, and enhance the public conversation taking place on the forums and private exchanges on people's profile pages."
Through this forward-thinking partnership, members of the TuDiabetes.org social network will be able to contribute health data safely and anonymously via TuAnalyze, a highly secure application developed by researchers in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program and based on the Indivo personally controlled health record. Members have the option to select how much information about their A1c values to share - if any. They may have their A1c values grouped with the values of other users and made available for academic research, online charts, graphs and maps displayed on TuDiabetes.org; or make their data visible to whomever can see their TuDiabetes profile page.
"Many people are turning to the Internet for information, support, and resources to help manage their disease on a day by day basis," said Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, faculty in the Informatics Program at Children's Hospital Boston and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, who is Principal Investigator of the project. "With TuAnalyze we aim to collect and share basic information people provide in a secure, structured way that will be beneficial to the community - so each member can learn more about themselves and their peers - and in a way that may inform public health endeavors and research."
"Analysis of the data collected could determine, for example, trends or a correlation between people's participation in health related social networking and level of diabetes management," said Mr. Hernandez. "We're excited. Through TuAnalyze the Community is building a shared knowledge that's bigger than any one of us."
DHF and Children's Hospital Boston plan to explore additional metrics in the future, and move beyond the United States to map A1c averages from around the world collected through TuAnalyze.
TuAnalyze was developed with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
TuDiabetes.org is an online community of more than 14,600 people touched by diabetes. Started in 2007, TuDiabetes.org and its sister Spanish language site EsTuDiabetes.org, are communities run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects people touched by diabetes and raises diabetes awareness. Through its online communities (TuDiabetes.org in English, EsTuDiabetes.org in Spanish) and its other social media channels, DHF offers support and information to nearly 200,000 people every month.
For more information, please visit http://www.diabeteshandsfoundation.org.
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/diabetesHF
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/diabetesHF
On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/DiabetesHands
Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom.