The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will award grants totaling $2.4 million to five teams to assess the potential of using consumer technologies, such as personal health records, smart phones and sensors, to record "observations of daily living" to help patients and physicians better manage chronic conditions.

The grants are part of the Princeton, N.J.-based foundation's Project HealthDesign initiative launched in late 2006 to enable consumers to better use the information within PHRs and elsewhere to improve their health. Each team will receive a two-year grant of $480,000.

The teams will demonstrate how health data from everyday life--such as observations about meals, sleep, exercise levels, pain episodes and moods--can be collected, interpreted and integrated into the clinical care process. They will work with patients with two or more chronic conditions to capture, store and analyze data.

Teams receiving the grants are:

* Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh;

* RTI International and Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond;

* San Francisco State University;

* University of California at Berkeley; and

* University of California at Irvine and Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

The organizations will work with experts in information technology and patient-centered care in Project HealthDesign's national program office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. More information, including findings from previous Project HealthDesign initiatives, is available at projecthealthdesign.org.

--Joseph Goedert

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