“Patient Engagement” is one of the health (and often tech) industries hottest buzzwords of 2015, yet no one seems to have locked down exactly what constitutes true patient engagement.

Quality care

Organizations know that patients need to be empowered; they know that clinicians need to improve the quality of care that they deliver, yet they are lost as to exactly what that entails, and are then in danger of using “patient engagement” as a ubiquitous term to ‘prove’ they deliver quality care.

A recent press release from details how the University of Pittsburgh Medicine Center (UPMC) has developed a six-step program ‘designed to break down organizational silos and barriers to achieve ideal patient care experiences.’

The program involves shadowing patients through all of their different care events. This includes having clinicians meet the patient as they arrive in the parking garage, recognizing that a care experience transcends walls and offices and that to really understand what the patient is going through, clinicians must identify and establish connections with the care recipient at all points of their care experience.

The thing about this program isn’t that it isn’t patient-centered care; it’s that it isn’t realistic for long-term engagement – nor is it scalable to other, less-specialized clinical settings. Staffing, budget, and total literal size of the location are all barriers to this type of patient engagement strategy.

“Through shadowing, we gain an enlightened perspective that reveals the entire health care experience rather than just the process. Shadowing leads to empathy, which leads to insight, and provides an emotional connection not possible by analyzing data,” says Pamela Greenhouse, MBA, Executive Director.

Quality care 2

It’s an accurate statement until the last part, ‘not possible by analyzing data.’ Capturing data at the point-of-care and analyzing it through EHR systems or a secure cloud portal has proven to demonstrate measurable outcomes, improved quality care, and best of all, a true patient-centered experience. Data tracking is a cost efficient means of checking compliance and adjusting care plans that need improving.

The benefits of using technology to capture this data is that it records information constantly and consistently – not just from the parking garage to the waiting room and back again. Home, work, clinical visits, ER visits, family time; it is always available. Furthermore, information from multiple patients can be viewed and analyzed remotely by a single clinician or care provider. This would not be possible with the shadowing system, given that it is a one-on-one setting and then data is later analyzed by a separate person.

The UPMC is on to something special and has been a leader in quality care for close to two decades – we hugely respect their commitment to innovation in patient engagement. We encourage more organizations to take their own patient engagement and quality of care to the next level, but for most, technology is a more viable and appropriate means of doing so.

It’s encouraging to see a focus on research in special education and learning disabilities aligned to a Federal strategy. The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) submitted comments to the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education on the future work of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER).  NCSER solicited input from researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders as they determine what issues need specific attention and how best to communicate the results of research to practitioners.  With the strong emphasis on evidence-based practices, LDA and NCLD felt it was of critical importance that IES and NCSER hear from families and practitioners with expertise in learning disabilities. Respondents were also asked what new topics NCSER should prioritize for future research.  NCLD and LDA addressed the following:

  • Systems issues that directly impact student outcomes, such as the impact of budget cuts and eligible services, reasons for the decreasing number of children identified as having a disability, impact of early intervention on educational outcomes, collaborative teaching models, knowledge translation to reach the classroom level, the role of specialized instructional support personnel and their impact on student achievement, and the impact of various education reform efforts (i.e., college and career ready standards and assessments) on students with disabilities.
  • Elements that support success for students with learning disabilities, prioritizing research that provides a better understanding of the factors and interventions that support positive learning outcomes.
  • Research to support accurate identification of specific learning disabilities, including more research on processes such as multi-tiered systems of support and other approaches as part of a comprehensive evaluation.
  • Effectiveness of multi-tiered systems of services and supports on distinguishing students with specific learning disabilities from struggling learners.
  • Examination of interventions addressing specific learning disabilities and co-occurring disabilities.
  • Reinforcing the important role of cultural competency through the IES grant process by emphasizing diversity in the grant applications.
  • Closer investigation of research questions that will assist both general and special educators to provide a high-quality education to students with learning disabilities.
  • Research on improving educator preparation, including general and special education teachers and specialized instructional support personnel, to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities. 

These are fantastic research topics that will hopefully result in positive programs and outcomes. As a parent and stakeholder, I would encourage active participation with these groups and initiatives and help make a real difference.


I love research that can drive practical health outcomes to the general public. One interesting initiative being sponsored by the California Healthcare Foundation is using online cognitive behavioral therapy for managing and overcoming pain due to health issue.


ReThink Pain


“Chronic pain affects about 100 million American adults — more than those affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Despite treatments that include surgery, medication, rehabilitative and physical therapy, and complementary and alternative approaches, many people with chronic pain will never recover to the point where they are pain free.”


ReThink Pain 2


Research is showing that teaching patients how to cope with their personal responses to pain can help minimize pain's impact on their activities of daily living. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a psychotherapeutic approach that teaches techniques for recognizing and restructuring negative thoughts and behaviors, has been successfully used to help chronic pain sufferers in group and individual settings. CBT shows patients how to handle the social and psychological aspects of chronic pain, including depression, anger, and anxiety, while developing self-management skills like activity scheduling and good sleep habits to manage symptoms. The challenge in delivering CBT for chronic pain by therapists has limited availability to patients due to cost, provider availability, and reimbursement issues. To increase access to the psycho-educational aspects of CBT for chronic pain sufferers, CHCF is looking to mobile health and health IT to make it more accessible and timely.

Read more: California Healthcare Foundation

In one of our recent training sessions with the Speech & Language team at Waterloo Regional District School Board we had a great conversation on the importance of data collecting in not just speech therapy but in special education in general.

Collected Data 1

I just wanted to share some of the conversations we were having the SLP (Speech & Language Pathologist) team:

Q: Why is data collection important?

SLP: How do you know if your student is making adequate progress in therapy? Regular education teachers are able to collect data on their student’s performance through classwork, homework assignments, and test scores. This data is important because a teacher can quickly see, based on the child’s performance on these tasks, if the child is making adequate progress or if the child may need some kind of individualized instruction. Data will tell you if your interventions are working or not. If you do not take data, you have no objective measure that your intervention is benefiting the students.


Q: What makes it challenging?

SLP: Taking data is very important and yet given all the responsibilities those SLPs working on the schools have, it can be a daunting task. Between all the IEP meetings, IEP paperwork, SST meetings, collaborating with other professionals, consultation, answering emails, planning therapy, implementing therapy, doing assessments, returning phone calls, staff meetings, bus duty…there is seriously barely time to use the bathroom and many of us eat lunch at our desk as we read our email (I know I have!!). Add the fact that within our therapy groups, we often have 3-5 children and it is common that they are all working on different goals. Taking data, analyze the data, and use the data to plan and implement therapy becomes very, very challenging.

Q: How do you take data today?

SLP: I take data nearly EVERY session on every child. The exception to this, is if I am using the session just for teaching the concepts. For example, I do not take measurable data on days that I am teaching placement on the /r/ (which sometimes can take several weeks) or days that I am teaching the meaning of several basic concepts, etc. On these teaching days, I will write notes on my Monthly Progress Notes Sheet regarding what we were teaching, what methods were working (if working on articulation placement), etc.

Collected Data 2


Q: How will Mozzaz Care help you in programming and data collection?

SLP: We see Mozzaz Care helping us in many ways – everything from content and lesson plan creation, to creating interactive activities and of course – AUTOMATIC DATA COLLECTION and OBSERVATIONAL notes and tracking. Our special-ed kids respond very well to tablets and computers, so using tablets for therapy and learning and be able to collect data from the app as they’re using will be a huge time saver and even more accurate. We also love the fact that you can incorporate videos and audio files into the tiles and pages – video modeling is very effective! As we progress with this team, I’ll continue to post updates on how Mozzaz Care is helping this team and the students achieve the speech and language goals.


We applaud President Obama for signing a reauthorization of the nation’s primary autism legislation, the bipartisan Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act, or Autism CARES Act of 2014 that includes more than a billion dollars in federal funding for the developmental disorder. Thank you!!

Approximately $1.5 billion has been dedicated to autism spectrum disorders research over the past five years through the combined efforts of U.S. government agencies and private organizations. This investment has helped to support progress in key research areas such as identifying risk factors, treatments and interventions, services, and data collection.”


Signed on Friday, the law calls for $260 million annually through 2019 for autism research, prevalence tracking, screening, professional training and other initiatives.

At Mozzaz, we have made it our mission to continue building innovative solutions for individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism, and the care teams that support them.

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Mozzaz Care supports personalized care plans, data tracking and observations for progress tracking and measuring outcomes – aligned to what government and healthcare organizations are demanding for accountable care.



the rights of people with cognitive


More than 28 million people in the US alone are affected by impaired cognitive function such as intellectual disabilities, brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and serious, persistent mental illness. People with cognitive disabilities have an equal right to technology and information access. At the most recent Thirteenth Annual Coleman Institute National Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology, held October 2013, a coalition of disability organizations and individuals asserted this right in a formal declaration. The full declaration can be read here and we are grateful to all those who have endorsed this declaration with their support.

The mission of the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities is to catalyze and integrate advances in science, engineering, and technology to promote the quality of life and independent living of all people with cognitive disabilities.

Keep up the great work!



Mozzaz CEO to speak at HIMMS 2014 Panel ‘Beyond BYOx – The Internet of Things in Healthcare’

Our CEO, Sammy Wahab, will be participating in a panel discussion at the HIMMS 2014 Conference later this month in Orlando, Florida. The panel, moderated by Dell Healthcare & Life Science’s Alex Castillo, looks at the trend of patients bringing their own mobile devices to healthcare settings for the purpose of treatment and connecting with their care team. 

The expert panel will discuss how BYOx has affected healthcare, and strategies organizations are adapting to manage this trend.  Further to that, they will explore how today’s implementation of a scalable BYOx strategy can prepare healthcare organizations for the future of connected devices.  Sammy will provide his insight and experiences as the man behind TalkingTiles, and how our collaborative approach to consumer driven healthcare is putting the access to care in the hands of the patient, allowing them to access therapy and treatment when they need it. 

Catch Sammy with the rest of the panel speakers on Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30am. Click here to Register

Expert panelists include:

  • Milton Chen , CEO, VSee
  • Trey McMillian, VP of Information Systems, Vidant Health
  • Sammy Wahab, CEO, Mozzaz Corporation
  • Ben Wilson, MBA, MPH, Director, Mobile Health, Intel Corporation
  • Bridget Winders, Executive Director, Dell Healthcare & Life Sciences


Alex Castillo, Solutions Marketing Strategist, Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences


Successful implementation of using assistive technology with students requires more than just handing over the device. It can be a complex process that takes several years before it is fully adopted. The process is not dependent on the tool alone, but on the process and people who are involved. Successful implementation is collaborative, systematic, recursive, flexible, and based on the student’s learning goals and needs. It is a team effort from the educator, therapist, parent, caregiver, and student. All of those involved must understand the tool and the needs of the student.

In order to be effective, the care team must spend time evaluating and training with the selected tool. Following this, planning how the tool will be used in regards to the students learning and therapy plan prior to having the student use the tool will help the student more readily adopt it. Support from other teachers, educators, school administration and staff, therapists, family members and caregivers is vital – each individual or group is vital in the process. School administration and staff approve the use and training of the tool, educators and therapists must all freely exchange information and provide updates, and the families and caregivers must understand how to use the tool to continue its use at home and outside of the school setting.

The student’s individual preferences and learning needs contribute to the success of the assistive technology intervention. Students should be given the opportunity to evaluate AT tools to determine which is the best fit for them – studies show that students who have not participated in an evaluation process are more likely to abandon technology that does not meet their requirements. Once students begin using their selected tool, it is important to monitor their development and learning environment. Doing so will help their care team make any needed adjustments to the learning and therapy plan that is associated with the tool being used.

What exactly is involved in an effective assistive technology implantation plan?

    • Gathering information: collect and gather relevant information that will be used to identify specific IEP goals that will be supported by technology

  • Establish IEP goals: look at the IEP goals and the strategies for outcome evaluation
  • Conduct AT trial: explore different options to determine the correct tool
  • Identify AT solution: based on the information gathered through assessments and trials, establish IEP goals, select the most appropriate tool
  • Develop the implementation plan: work collaboratively with the team to create a plan that includes set up and configuration, team and student training, integration of the technology into the student’s daily program, and assessment tools that will be used to determine effectiveness
  • Adapt lessons for AT integration: daily lesson plans are to be adapted to work with the tool to meet learning goals
  • Follow up and plan transition: conduct frequent reviews to ensure effectiveness, make plans for further adaptions if needed, and create a transition plan to allow the student to take the tool with them without interruption from one class to another

What have you found to be effective strategies in implementing assistive technology tools with your students and clients?

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