“We need to design and implement mental health tools that meet the users where they are, not where we would like them to be.”
Communication & Collaboration
Professor Madhu Reddy studies the challenges of using health information technology in clinical settings. “Technologies such as the electronic health record (EHR) are not designed and implemented to support effective communication in these information-rich, complex and highly collaborative environments,” he says, “so users are forced to develop workarounds.” To understand and address these challenges, Professor Reddy’s research examines how clinical staff work with each other and how the EHR supports their collaboration. For instance, he was involved in the development of R-CAST-MED, an agent-based collaborative decision support system for clinical teams.
Tools for Mental Health
Professor Reddy is also interested in improving the delivery of mental health services. “There simply are not enough mental health service providers in the country,” he says. “Digital mental health tools can play a role in helping close this gap, but there have been few, if any, successful large-scale implementations of these tools in healthcare organizations.” Professor Reddy is working to better understand and address the organizational and design challenges related to digital mental health applications as he finds ways to integrate these tools into the healthcare system to improve patient access.
Conducting a series of studies of individuals who live with depression, Professor Reddy has started to identify the different approaches that individuals use to monitor depression and how self-management tools can best support these approaches. “We need to design mental health tools that reflect users’ actual needs and goals,” he explains. While most users engage with mobile applications in brief segments, many mental health tools require a much longer engagement period to be effective. Consequently, striking the balance between how users want to engage with mobile applications and what is necessary to deliver effective support is an important challenge. “I’m working on designing and implementing digital mental health interventions that better integrate clinical goals and user preferences.”
Ph.D., Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine, 2005