Current Projects – Canada

Managing Asthma with Tele-health Technology: A Feasibility Study (British Columbia)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mark Fitzgerald

Co-Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

The Asthma Telehealth project is a randomized trial testing the adaptation of the WelTel platform to link patients with moderate to severe asthma to their previously validated Asthma Action Plans, thus supporting outpatient self-management.

EmPhAsISEmpowering Pharmacists in Asthma management through Interactive SMS (British Columbia)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mary de Vera

Co-Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This clustered randomized control trial at 75 pharmacies in BC is designed to examine whether an adaptation of the WelTel intervention into pharmacy’ services improves adherence to asthma medication.

Cedar Project: mHealth Study (British Columbia)

Principal Investigators: Patricia Spittal, Marin Schechter

Co-Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This project tests the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of using text messages to improve treatment adherence and resiliency for young First Nations people who are HIV-positive or at high risk of HIV.

WelTel Big River: Engaging people living with HIV and Hepatitis C in a text-message intervention (Saskatchewan)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

Co-Investigator: Dr. Stuart Skinner

This new study emerged from a CIHR/CTN funded Rural Engagement in HIV Care meeting of national researchers and stakeholders in Saskatoon in 2013, at which WelTel was voted as the highest priority research area. Additional funding was secured through CTN to initiate a pilot study using WelTel to improve engagement in HIV services in the northern First Nations community of Big River.

WelTelOAKTREE: Text Messaging to Support Patients with HIV/AIDS in British Columbia (British Columbia)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Melanie Murray

Co-Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

Following a successful pilot study of the intervention at the Oak Tree Clinic, additional funding was secured by the Oak Tree team to recruit 100 participants for a further evaluation involving clinical outcomes one year before and one year after implementation of the intervention, as well as its cost-effectiveness.

University of Toronto - Postexposure Prophylaxis (Toronto)

Using text messaging to improve health system efficiencies in the treatment of latent tuberculosis (British Columbia)

Funder: CIHR Foundation Grant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This is a dually funded project by the BC Lung Association and CIHR PHSI. It evaluates the effect of WelTel on treatment completion among patients with Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) in a randomized controlled trial at two TB clinics. The study includes a cost-effectiveness evaluation and stakeholder assessment for healthy system integration ( identifier: NCT01549457).

Engaging clients in the field: WelTel Outreach (British Columbia)

Funder: BCCDC Foundation for Public Health

Principal Investigator: Dr. Victoria Cook

Co-Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

In this study, WelTel digital health platform will replace the existing practice of individual client-provider text messaging and immediate deletion as per agency policies, and will provide a secure, centralized platform where all text-message correspondence between team members and between clients and providers can be accessed by relevant TB Services clinicians with a user name and password with eventual upload to the clinical registry. The team will apply lessons learned from this pilot to pursue further application of the digital health platform in the area of Video Observed Therapy. The overarching goal of this proposed study is to support communications and delivery of care throughout the Lower Mainland.

WelTel Haida Gwaii (British Columbia)

Funder: Doctors of BC

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tracy Morgan

Co-Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This project will utilize a digital health technology in a primary care setting to improve access to care and self-management for patients diagnosed with one or more chronic illnesses (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus and/or hypertension). This study will assess the impact of the technology on health indicators, including HbA1c and blood pressure, and self-efficacy and health-related quality of life.

Current Projects – Kenya

WelTel Kenya2

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This second phase ‘transition to scale’ project, Changing Global Health One Text at a Time, is co-supported by Grand Challenges Canada and Amref Health Africa. The aim is to scale-up the WelTel intervention in Kenya’s vast northern and arid lands as part of a government-hosted consortium of health-strengthening initiatives, using the Integrated InnovationTM framework (social, technological, and business innovation).

WelTel Retain

NIH Funded

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This randomized control trial ( identifier: NCT01630304) aims to assess whether the WelTel intervention improves retention in care in the first year of care after HIV diagnosis.

Grand Challenges

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

To implement a text-messaging service (WelTel) to improve maternal and child health at several clinical sites across Kenya.

Grand Challenges

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

To implement a text-messaging service (WelTel) for TB treatment adherence at several clinical sites across Kenya.

Current Projects – Global

WelTel Implementation Science

CIHR Foundation Grant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Lester

This study aims to understand the contextual factors that impact the implementation of the WelTel mHealth intervention in settings from Prince George to Northern Kenya.