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Bentley College Teams with Children's Hospital Boston for NIH Grant

March 4, 2007

Bentley College professor William Gribbons will work with principal investigator Stephen Porter, MD, a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine and medical informatics at Children's Hospital Boston, to create a web-based reporting tool for parents of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The project includes development and evaluation of a tool that will enable parents to provide timely information about their child's behavior to the care provider, leading to better management of the disorder. The project, "Health Literacy and Information Management in ADHD: Designing an Optimal Record," will be funded by an RO1 grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health to Children's Hospital Boston.

While routine, systematic monitoring of children with ADHD is an essential component of treatment, systematic capture of information on child behaviors at home and school is a significant barrier to timely, evidence-based, high quality care. The development of an electronic, web-based format of ADHD symptom tracking and medication side effect assessment will help provide a solution to this informational disconnect and serve as a model for patient-centered health information technology development. Parents of children with ADHD, identified by Children's Hospital Boston, will be involved in all phases of the tool development. Usability testing will be done at the Design and Usability Center at Bentley.

Gribbons, who directs the Master of Science in Human Factors in Information Design program and founded the Design and Usability Center at Bentley, will provide expertise in usability testing and the influence of human factors on performance. He will advise on the cognitive interviews and the web site design prototypes, as well as facilitate focus groups and usability testing by both English- and Spanish-speaking parents.

Findings of the project will provide a usable and useful technology product that will help overcome literacy-related barriers, and thereby help improve care for ADHD, a common pediatric mental health disorder.

Dr. Porter holds an academic appointment as assistant professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. His research bridges the gap between health services and medical informatics. A central tenet of his research is that "the history as told by the parent has value," and his work examines the value of patient-derived data for improvements in quality and safety.

Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is the one of the nation's leading pediatric medical centers, the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children, and the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. In addition to 347 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and comprehensive outpatient programs, Children's houses the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 10 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community.

Gribbons is an active speaker at local and national conferences, addressing issues of information design, human factors and the user interface design. He is a frequently cited expert on product design and usability and has been quoted in USA Today, Investor's Business Daily, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Boston Business Journal, ABC News, Business 2.0, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. His long-term research interests center on building a unified theory defining the user experience.

The Design and Usability Center at Bentley focuses its research on usability methods, design for low-literacy populations, design for older populations, universal accessibility, and mental workload issues.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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