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February 1, 2013 Readers Write No Comments

Students in the HIT Spotlight
By Lisa Reichard RN, BSN

2-1-2013 5-28-37 PM

Inspiring! That was the word that ran through my mind when I heard that the HOSA team of Harris County High School, Hamilton, GA had won the second annual Student HIT Innovation Award at the Health IT Leadership Summit for its Type 1 diabetes mobile health app.

As a former pediatric nurse who has worked with children newly diagnosed with diabetes, I was thrilled to see an app that can aid in the education and training of newly diagnosed patients developed by 11th grade high school students. Best of all, right here in my own back yard.

In my experience, this can be an isolating disease with challenging daily management. According to the Center’s for Disease Control (CDC), Type I diabetes has spiked 23 percent among children, with a 21 percent increase in Type II diabetes also reported.

The student team from HCHS rose to the challenge and was chosen from 12 semifinalists followed by a final four selection. HIStalk Connect’s own Travis Good, MD was on the judging panel.


Left to right: Todd Bell, senior VP at Verizon; Brooke Grantham; Aleah Harris; Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia; Christopher Keough; Brittney Wilkins; and Cheryl Batts, Harris County High School HOSA Advisor

I had a chance to chat with team member Christopher Keough to hear more about the experience.

How does your Type 1 Project app work and how does one download it?

Our Type 1 Project app has several links to choose from that provide general information about Type 1 diabetes, informational videos, a link to our website and Facebook page, and even a link to a carb counter. To download our app, search for “Type 1 Project” in the Google Play store, or to access it on your iPhone, visit type1project.conduitapps.com and just add to your home screen.

How will the app help kids recently diagnosed with diabetes?

We feel that kids would rather use a mobile application than receive information from a doctor or a book because most of them own some form of technology. Children and young adults can relate to how to best calculate the amount of carbs in food on the go with the link that we’ve provided through the app. They can also learn more about their condition through our website and the informational videos that we’ve provided.”

What are the plans for the product?

This mobile application started as a project for the Health IT Leadership Summit award, but we plan to keep it live for a limited time and try to make more users aware of the app through Facebook and other methods. We also plan to make ongoing improvements to the mobile application.

I also had the chance to ask Cheryl Batts, Keough’s advisor, how those of us in the health IT community can encourage students to foster future creativity in application development, and succeed in pursuing future IT careers.

“We can start in our classrooms,” she explained. “Last year, the health IT project was directed toward middle school students. Although an estimated 95 percent of students in my classes have cell phones, and this is where our mobile app can come into play, I believe many students have no idea what healthcare IT is. I know when I mention the number of job openings in Atlanta in my classroom, they all start thinking hard about it.”

“The mobile app we developed had a monetary award for our HOSA organization. HOSA, a national student organization, used to be an acronym for Health Occupations Students of America. However, it now stands for just Future Health Professionals. The chapter is for any student interested in a career in healthcare. The mission of HOSA is to enhance delivery of compassionate, quality healthcare by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development of students. HOSA provides competitive events and leadership training at conferences that include knowledge and skill competencies through a program of motivation, awareness and recognition as part of the Health Science Education instructional program. Of course, these conferences cost money, so earning money for the organization helps reduce student expenses. The offering of scholarships is a big help to our students as well.”

Congratulations to Harris County High School on the receipt of this milestone award. Let’s all do what we can to support our local students. Who knows? We may start seeing more students demoing apps at trade shows. The future is looking bright!

Lisa Reichard, RN, BSN is director of business development of Billian’s HealthDATA of Atlanta, GA.

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