Welcome to the Utah PRISMS Informatics Center! We are building a system to support future studies of pediatric asthma.

Pediatric asthma is scary and we don’t fully understand what can trigger it. We know poor air quality can trigger asthma symptoms, but there are many factors to consider such as what pollutants are in the air (and how much), what medications a child is taking, how active the child is, and others. We are building an information system that will help researchers conduct studies to understand the impact of different environmental exposures so we can better treat these kids. We envision that one day a child might have a sensor on their wrist or backpack that could warn the child when the air quality is getting bad, so he can remember to bring his inhaler to school, or one that automatically sends information the parents and the doctor when the child is having an asthma attack.

We are investigating how different types of sensors will help us collect the data researchers will need, and how the information from sensors will be most useful to families and researchers. Sensors are little devices that measure things, much like how a Fit-bit measures steps. We will be working with Utah families to look at information from wearable sensors that might monitor a child’s activity or the air quality right around him, and stationary air quality sensors that might be placed in different rooms of the home.

These sensors would send data through an integrated “information pipeline” system we are building so that researchers, doctors, or even families could use the information.

We received a grant from the NIH to build these systems. We will be working with the NIH and with other centers across the country on what may one day become a national resource for this type of information.