Read more: Evidation Study Shows Digital Intervention Increases Flu Vaccination Rates Among People with Diabetes

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Improving Patient Care Through Real World Sensor Data

While there is much talk about the value of person generated health data (PGHD) in terms of the efficiency and patient convenience related to clinical trials, the true societal benefit will come from improved patient care. There is a growing body of evidence that data generated in real world naturalistic settings might provide a more comprehensive view of an individual’s experience with a disease than some traditional measures captured in a clinic setting. Better characterizing heterogeneous disease burden in heterogeneous populations can improve patient care with more personalized intervention. 

A recently published review summarized the growing evidence from studies of patients with cancer that collecting continuous and passive data through consumer wearable sensors and smartphones is feasible in these patient populations, and the digital signals generated are related to symptoms, patient quality of life, physical function and risk of adverse events, which could support more personalized care.

Efforts to assess the validity of continuous at home measures with in clinic lab assessments are an important step towards this goal. One group of researchers investigating gait speed, which is used as a clinical measure in a number of disease states, concluded that “…gait speed derived from activities during daily life using data from wearable devices may have the potential to transform clinical trials by non-invasively and unobtrusively providing a more objective and naturalistic measure of functional ability.”  

Another group of researchers used a smartphone based app to evaluate the experience of living with MS on a regular basis, outside of episodic clinical evaluations. Through an observational prospective remote digital health study that captured self-administered active assessments, patient reported outcomes and local weather, they provided evidence that data collected via remote smartphone based interactions may provide more accurate and timely assessments of disease stressors, which may lead to richer interactions between patient and physician.

Cardiac electrophysiology is perhaps the medical field in the most immediate position to employ digital tools given the advancements in consumer smartwatch ECG measurements.  A review authored by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic discusses the challenges and opportunities that this technology poses for the medical practice, and the importance of the preparation of physicians, along with professional guidance and additional research, to translate the promises of this technology into improved clinical care and health outcomes.

Other Good Reads:

Digital Medicine Can Diagnose and Treat What Ails You | Scientific American

Omada Digital Diabetes Prevention Program Shows Sustained HbA1c Reduction and Weight Loss in Randomized Control Trial | Omada Health

There’s a silent crisis in clinical research. And it’s not Covid-19 | STAT News

Assessing Participation Burden in Clinical Trials: Introducing the Patient Friction Coefficient | Clinical Therapeutics

Digital therapeutics and wellness app users to reach 1.4 billion by 2025 | MobiHealthNews

What we’ve been up to:

Research: 75 million people are projected to be living with dementia by 2030. We believe that machine learning & real-world data are powerful tools for better detecting and understanding cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Evidation’s past research shows that smart devices may be useful tools in detecting neurodegenerative diseases before they manifest in a clinical setting. The Wall Street Journal covers our work and other advances in the field here

Now that the national conversation is turning from when will we have a COVID-19 vaccine to how will we distribute it, we need to ask an important question: Will people take it? The answer is complicated. Interim data from our newest study on public sentiment surrounding COVID-19 suggests that Americans are more hesitant to get vaccinated for COVID-19 than previously thought. Public health officials face a serious challenge in spreading clear, effective messaging on COVID-19 vaccine safety, and we hope that our research can help inform that effort. Read more about the findings here

Understanding symptom severity and quality of life among individuals with Type 2 inflammation diseases is critical. Our research with Sanofi presented at ACAAI’s annual meeting shows that there is a disproportionate impact of respiratory conditions among females and those with COPD. Specifically, these subgroups experienced greater functional burden compared to males and those with asthma only as assessed by SGRQ, a widely used measure of health impairment among those with obstructive airways disease. The insight we gained about the real-world experience of individuals with Type 2 inflammation may aid in the development of improved management strategies for these subgroups. Listen to the presentation here.  

Thought Leadership: Digital clinical measurement is central to a more patient-focused future of clinical research and care delivery. That’s why we are honored and excited to bring our years of experience in digital measurement to a world-class collaboration with DiMe to drive adoption of digital measurement across the industry through the Tour of Duty, “The Playbook: Driving Adoption.” Reach out to learn more about the playbook and how we can help you here. 

Evidation’s Ieuan Clay, PhD, and Nell Marshall, DrPH,  were selected to be part of the FDA’s Network of Digital Health Experts. This is a group of recognized experts on the forefront of cutting edge technologies and current best practices across various fields of digital health, share knowledge and experience with FDA staff members on an as-needed basis in support of the FDA’s Digital Health Center of Excellence.  Additional information on this network of experts can be found here.

Karger Special Issue: We believe that digital measures, based on PGHD, are foundational to a healthier future in which care is proactive, personalized, and convenient. The current pandemic has taught us the importance of virtual healthcare in measuring and delivering care outside of traditional healthcare settings. The time is now to begin consolidating outcomes from experimentation and pilot programs into meaningful progress towards transformation of the healthcare industry. We are excited to announce the Karger special issue, “The Future of Digital Health,” that brings together contributions from leaders in the field and focuses on: further maturation of our existing capabilities, continued expansion of new capabilities and investment into the next generation of researchers who will carry the field forward. Stay tuned for a discussion with the authors December 8th, co-hosted by DiMe.

Further reading