Population Health

June 22, 2021

Initiative and CoMotion co-fund grant to better treat and prevent tuberculosis

Image of nurse examining a patientThe Population Health Initiative and CoMotion have announced the joint award of a Population Health Innovation Fund grant of $50,000 to Sarah Iribarren, UW assistant professor of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, for her project, “Tuberculosis Treatment Support Tools (TB-TSTs).”

The award is intended to fund a research project that simultaneously supports the University of Washington’s vision for population health while also fulfilling the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund’s goal of enabling research that will achieve sustainable commercial or societal impact.

Currently, tuberculosis is among one of the leading causes of global death and suffering. Treatment usually entails lengthy antibiotics courses. Irregular adherence to tuberculosis treatment leads to more significant complications, such as problems with antibiotic resistance, further spread of tuberculosis, increased costs to patients and worsened clinical outcomes. Existing monitoring strategies have proved to be too resource-intensive, less accurate and often lack patient support.

In response, Iribarren’s project aims to combine home-based tests for medication ingestion with an innovative mobile application that supports individual patients and their care team. Patients can complete urine tests at home and submit their tests through the mobile application for assessment. The smartphone-based application then provides patients with tailored management strategies and patient monitoring.

In turn, this application will lead to greater treatment adherence, improving outcomes for patients and their providers. Iribarren’s project will strengthen patient support, reducing costs for treatment. In addition, public health agencies and healthcare providers will also experience a reduction in costs associated with treating tuberculosis.

Funding from the Population Health Innovation Award grant will support the project in its commercialization efforts and enable Iribarren’s research team to explore viable markets to disseminate these innovative treatment support tools to a larger audience.

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