Dr. Michael Killian of the Florida State University College of Social Work was awarded a grant by FSU’s Collaborative Collision event to develop and pilot a telehealth intervention for adolescent heart transplant recipients in collaboration with Dr. Dipankar Gupta of the University of Florida’s Health Congenital Heart Center and emocha Health. The project will use emocha’s mobile health platform to monitor medication adherence for participating patients, who are taking immunosuppressive medication to prevent organ rejection. 

FSU’s Collaborative Collision event is bringing together faculty from across the university to work on projects targeting the COVID-19 pandemic. Immunocompromised transplant recipients are at higher risk during the pandemic, with specific medication challenges and needs surrounding adherence. emocha’s mobile platform will support the implementation of safe clinical research, and a focus on impactful intervention work.

Adolescents face unique challenges to medication adherence, and the research team is hopeful that emocha’s technology can both assist in adherence and improve overall outcomes for patients. As a population for whom technology is ubiquitous, teenagers are well-suited to this technological intervention. “We’re hoping that this will be a really powerful thing to make them feel a part of their own care…and facilitate communication and a sense of community,” Dr. Killian says.

With a background in social work, Dr. Killian understands the significance of support not only for patients, but also for their families. “Those are the areas where social workers on the transplant teams can look at and apply service, to build strength and resources around a family to make them more successful outside the hospital doors,” says Dr. Killian.

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