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Two third-year medical students at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) were selected to be featured presenters at the 2019 Technology Education Research Symposium held on April 13 at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Speakers’ presentations are published in Volume 3 Issue 1 of the Pennsylvania Association of Educational Communication and Technology’s (PAECT) Technology Education Research Journal.

Matt Hope of Wyomissing and Evan Porter of Jefferson City, Missouri presented on Summa, a new healthcare technology company they founded to create a way for researchers to access “personally generated health data,” or PGHD.

PGHD is the exponentially growing reservoir of consumer-owned data collected by FitBits and apps (applications) that track everything from an individual’s diet, heart rate and sleep to personal stress levels. It even includes genetic data people purchase when they go to companies like 23 and Me to learn more about their heritage. The data generated in this way presents a rich, untapped resource for researchers connected with organizations too small to have the means to purchase “big data” the way, for example, large pharmaceutical companies can. Summa’s idea is to connect these types of researchers directly with individuals generating the data via an app. The app permits researchers to access the data while keeping control in the hands of the consumer.

Matt provides a scenario to explain the concept. "Suppose a university psychology researcher wants to assess something like resilience. Maybe they are interested in how resilience impacts student academic performance or patient health outcomes. To do these research projects today, researchers would use survey instruments to gather subjective data from their study participants. But what's interesting is that new evidence suggests that things like heart rate variability can be used to measure stress resilience in a quantitative, objective fashion. With Summa, the psychologist would not only be able to distribute survey instruments to their student and patient populations, but also collect data from participant devices like Fitbit to assess heart rate, activity levels, sleep and more. With access to all this data, researchers will be able to ask new questions and test them in novel ways. We believe this can make a big difference in academic research and healthcare quality improvement,” he said.

The Technology Education Research Symposium is an annual conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Educational Communication and Technology (PAECT) and highlights educational technologies related to student success and corporate innovation. PAECT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer-led organization supporting and speaking for educational technology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


About Geisinger College of Health Sciences
Geisinger College of Health Sciences is the research and education arm of the Geisinger family. The college houses Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Geisinger School of Nursing and Geisinger School of Graduate Education. The college is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Technology Education Research Symposium 2019
Seen at the 2019 Technology Education Research Symposium at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania are, from left: Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) third-year medical students Evan Porter of Jefferson City, Missouri and Matthew Hope of Wyomissing with Lynn Hummel, EdD, event organizer and Bloomsburg University assistant professor and Ian J. McCoog, EdD, associate education analyst at GCSOM.
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