Health Within Reach: Developing technology to help Asian American communities fight hepatitis B and C.
About half of the 2 million Americans chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus are of Asian ancestry. In most cases, they or their parents were born in Asian countries where hepatitis B infection is common. Another 3 million people in the United States are chronically infected with hepatitis C, which can also cause liver cancer. Asian Americans may fail to undergo screening for hepatitis B and C because they don’t realize that they are at higher risk than the rest of the population—and because their doctors don’t suggest it.
SOM Tech worked with the PCORI-funded team on a research project designed to determine whether an app can help increase the number of Asian Americans choosing to undergo hepatitis B and C screening. The team is conducting a trial with 416 Asian Americans who have not had a hepatitis screening test, working closely with community organizations, focus groups, and two patient advisory councils in the San Francisco Bay Area.
SOM Tech’s role was to facilitate design groups with patient advisory groups, collect input, and collaborate with the research team - ultimately helping to build the project’s tablet-based mobile app. “It’s actually very hard to develop an app that’s informative, interesting, and short,” says Dr. Tung Nguyen, Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCSF. Getting feedback from patient and community partners as the app was being developed was helpful, he says. The researchers sought advice on topics including how best to phrase the app’s questions to avoid misunderstandings and what color and shape the touch-screen response buttons should be.