The School of Education’s Department of Administrative Leadership, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and a pair of Brazilian computer experts are teaming up to make life easier for parents to care for children with complex medical needs.
The team is taking 12 printed modules created several years ago and adapting a few of them into an app called CareTaker. The goal is to make the information quickly and readily available, says Simone Conceição, chair of the Department of Administrative Leadership, who is working on the project.
The app provides simple, straightforward educational materials for parents and other caregivers to learn skills to manage the child’s needs within a complex health care system. The original materials were designed as part of the Bridge to Independence project for nurses and case managers to share with families.
“Basically, we’re taking the Bridge to Independence curriculum and adapting it into the app,” says Conceição. The Brazilian visiting scholars from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, who have been working on the project for five months at UWM, are Dauster Souza Pereira and Paulo Rocha. Pereira and Rocha are working on their PhDs in educational technology and computer sciences. This project is part of Pereira’s dissertation. Also, Rafaela Jardim has been working on the app development with the team from back at the university in Brazil.
The mobile CareTaker app allows users to learn skills, organize and share health information, make checklists for dealing with emergencies, keep track of daily routine treatments, manage appointments and communicate with providers, says Sarah Johaningsmeir, Research Coordinator from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“We’ve been expecting people to carry around all this information when almost everybody has a mobile phone in their pocket,” she added. The app designers are incorporating animation, PDF forms and other features to make CareTaker more interactive and user friendly. Families can learn about care management, make notes for themselves, keep track of emergency medical contacts and share information in a variety of formats such as email or exportable PDF forms, making it easier to share key information with a babysitter, for example.
The designers are finalizing details on the app and have begun prototype testing in the U.S. and Brazil.
Their eventual goal is to make it available in three languages – English, Spanish and Portuguese, according to Conceição.
Part of the content was created with support from grant R40 MC 08960 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Learn more about the CareTaker mobile app and download CareTaker for IOS and Android – Coming Soon.
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