About The Lab


The Patient-Centered Media Lab (PCML) brings together patients, providers and researchers to synthesize and refine the design, development and dissemination of patient-centered health information technology (HIT) applications and devices. This overview is intended to inform community members, researchers and funders about PCML innovations and opportunities.


The past seven years have seen an explosion of health data and health applications. The tools that have been developed include transformative advances in electronic medical records, e-prescribing and the general collection and communication of health data. These advances interface primarily with providers rather than directly with patients and most technologies that interface meaningfully with patients are in the early stages. A recent JAMA review found that there are now more than 40,000 legitimate health apps available to patients and providers.
While academic healthcare institutions already have functioning clinical research and simulation units, such units use biomedical laboratory equipment and clinical/research personnel in a space designed to mimic traditional patient care settings. The PCML meets the need for a new laboratory designed to understand and meet patient HIT needs and preferences.

What are the goals of the Patient-Centered Media Lab Project?

  1. Operate a laboratory where patients, computer scientists, social scientists and health care providers interact to design, develop and test new media that promote health.
  2. Learn from interactions among persons, devices and software.
  3. Inform future efforts to bring diverse constituents together in patient-centered clinical informatics projects through rigorous evaluation.
  4. Collaborate with patients to develop efforts to educate patients about how to use HIT innovations more effectively.

What does Patient-Centered Media Lab look like?

The media lab is about a new form of innovation that connects with patients as informants and collaborators rather than research subjects. The PCML approach has the effect of flattening traditional hierarchies and elevating the status of patients in order to learn from their perspectives. Health information technology is tailored to meet diverse constituents at their levels of engagement, technology use and health media literacy. Projects involve patients and stakeholders in understanding how software, data and media can be used to improve health.

Who will benefit from the lab?

The project meets patient needs by directly incorporating their input in design and testing of health promoting applications. Health care providers, administrators making technology decisions, software developers, and a wide range of health researchers will directly benefit. In addition, lab inventions are expected to bring a larger benefit to MetroHealth, software entrepreneurs, and the local economy.


Currently, the lab occupies space on the 2nd Floor of the Rammelkamp Building at the at MetroHealth W. 25th Campus. Institutional leadership, including Walter Jones, Director of Transformation are committed to providing space as needs grow.


Since 2014, Dr. Perzynski has combined resources of extramural funded projects, faculty startup funds from MetroHealth and small contracts to furnish, equip and staff the lab. Investigators wanting to use the lab and resources for their projects have been encouraged to include lab costs in their budgets. To further spur lab innovation, we are seeking $200,000 per year in funding for each of the next five years. These funds will support core faculty effort, staff, interns and programmers as well as provide necessary computing resources. The core faculty are constantly involved in writing research proposals, and the leadership team is open to a variety of arrangements from corporate sponsorship to individual charitable donations.

Selected PCML Highlights

Publications and Presentations: The PCML team has produced more than a dozen peer reviewed publications and presentations in less than 24 months including an invited discussion with the Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and presentations at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the American Public Health Association, the Society for General Internal Medicine, Academy Health, and the Society for Medical Decision Making
AHRQ-funded Healthy Life HRA: Our team has already designed and developed the Healthy Life Health Risk Assessment (http://www.healthylifehra.org), a multi-platform health risk assessment software tool for use in primary care. The software is being licensed to a startup company, (Global Health Metrics, LLC) co-founded by Dr. Perzynski, his colleague Dr. Sudano, Dr. Eamon Johnson and Mrs. Sandra Andrukat. This project has resulted in a patent filing, U.S. PCT Patent Application Serial No. PCT/US2015/060637 for “Method and Apparatus for Performing Health Risk Assessment” Joseph J. Sudano and Adam T. Perzynski, Inventors. The Global Health Metrics Team has recently submitted a Small Business Technology Transfer proposal to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

HealthStead: The most recent prototype produced by Dr. Perzynski together with his computer science collaborator Dr. Johnson is http://healthstead.org, a point-of-care neighborhood risk assessment tool. This exciting work is one of five national finalists for the deBeaumont Foundation "Bridging the Data Divide Challenge."

The Healthy Moms Health Risk Assessment: Awarded an Honorable Mention at the first Cleveland Medical Hackathon, this software prototype (http://healthymomshra.com/) is being piloted among young women in Cleveland in partnership with the Mom's First Initiative. Dr. Perzynski, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Sudano plan to submit a proposal for a Small Business Innovation Research grant to the National Institute for Child and Human Development in September 2016.

Video Sharing to Improve Health: Dr. Perzynski is revising a grant for resubmission to a new funding agency and has conducted multiple pilots of a video sharing project in which patients with chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension) can share video stories of how they have worked to live healthy. Among the overall goals of this project is creation of a digital library of patient stories that promote healthy living and can be selected and personalized to the disease and personal characteristics of a given patient. A collection of videos has been assembled together with help from participants in the STRIDES weight loss program at MetroHealth Buckeye Health Center, the NINR-funded TEAM stroke prevention program for young black men who have had a stroke, and the NIMH-funded TTIM intervention for patients with diabetes and serious mental illness.
Methods in Text Mining for Diagnostic Radiology: Dr. Johnson's dissertation research examines examine computing approaches to solving the problem of detection of incidental findings (uncertain or unexpected results) in imaging study reports. With collaborators in the Department of Radiology at MetroHealth, Dr. Johnson conducted a large scale semantic analysis, using a corpus of 726,000 real-world radiology reports. These novel semantic techniques resulted in a dramatic improvement in accuracy compared with other techniques.

Sisters II: The Use of Virtual Reality Technology as a Motivator for Long-Term Weight Loss in Pre-Diabetic Patients: The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Non-Immersive Virtual Reality (VR/Avatar) exercise were combined in this project to determine how feasible and efficacious VR/Avatar fitness gaming is in promoting exercise and weight loss among older African American women. After studying two cohorts, we found that VR/Avatar gaming was successful in promoting exercise and weight loss.

CDC Funded Epilepsy Stigma Reduction Program: Together with Dr. Martha Sajatovic and Dr. Anne Berg (Northwestern), Dr. Perzynski has worked to develop and pilot a web-based, interactive software tool that conducts a randomized comparison of strategies to reduce epilepsy stigma among youth.

ePeer app development for Spinal Cord Injury: Drs. Roach & Perzynski together with physicians in PM&R have had a letter of intent accepted for a foundation proposal to develop an ePeer application for newly injured traumatic spinal cord injury patients to utilize during acute rehabilitation.

The Digital Divide and MyChart Usage: Dr. Perzynski and his collaborators have investigated how disparities in internet access constrain use of health information technology tools for disadvantaged patients, and worked with community organizations to pilot a program that provides affordable internet access combined with digital readiness training.


Dr. Perzynski is the Founding Director of the PCML. We are currently attempting to secure financing for the hiring of Dr. Eamon Johnson at MetroHealth as Associate Director. Dr. Johnson successfully defended his dissertation at CWRU this Spring semester. Dr. Perzynski and Dr. Johnson work closely with existing collaborators: Dr. Roach and Dr. Sudano provide primary faculty support. Other collaborators include Dr. David Kaelber, Chief Medical Information Officer, and Dr. Eileen Seeholzer. Tekin Ozsoyoglu, Professor of Computer Science at CWRU has provided consultant expertise.

Together with an ad hoc committee of patients, the core faculty constitute a committee that reviews and prioritizes new and existing lab projects. The PCML team will regularly involve patients at MetroHealth in both projects and important lab decisions.

Mrs. Sandra Andrukat serves as Research Coordinator. Sarah Shick, a doctoral student in the CWRU Department of Sociology is the PCML Graduate Research Associate. Mr. Roger Williams has been retained to serve as science writer and project consultant for Summer 2016. Isaac Nicholas, a computer engineering student at CWRU, will be the 3rd PCML Intern, beginning his tenure in June 2016, he follows Ms. Anupama Cemballi and Mr. Tynan Smith, previous interns.