Digital Health Science Digest: Issue 4

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

The Digital Health Science Digest is a bimonthly newsletter compiled by Duke Digital Health. We bring you the most interesting research publications, policy news, and other fun digital health science stuff.

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Issue 4



  • Clinics & health centers faced barriers like lack of funding, limited resources, and problems integrating mHealth solutions into existing EHR systems. These led to low adoption of digital health, according to a 2013 Commonwealth Fund survey.   

  • A potentially awesome intervention tool: Spotify’s app will now read your phone’s accelerometer and can play music that can match a person’s pace while s/he runs/walks. 

  • Another great tool for nutrition research: Google’s Im2Calories can calculate calories from a photo! The system determines the depth of each pixel, matches the results to a nutrition database, and approximates portion size based on the relative size of the plate it’s on. You have at least a year to secure funding to use it; it probably won’t be released for a while…

  • Are you looking for the “ultimate compilation of essential tech statistics”? Well, look no further: Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report just came out! 


  • The FCC voted on a set of bills to increase technology access for the deaf and blind: one bill will provide cell phones to low-income deaf and blind people, and the other will make emergency video information accessible to deaf and blind people via smartphone, tablet, and laptop.

  • Veterans may soon have increased access to telemedicine. The “Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015” (H.R. 2516), would allow VA providers to practice telemedicine across state lines and enable them to treat veterans wherever they’re located – including their homes, clinics and community health centers – instead of at a VA facility.

  • The Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet held a hearing on Tuesday on the FCC’s Lifeline program, which subsidizes monthly telephone services for low-income participants. Part of the hearing focused on the addition of broadband services. You can watch the hearing here.



  • The Economist had a nice article about the advantages of small data on healthcare delivery. 

  • More videos from this year’s mHealth@Duke conference are up! Check out the following sessions:

    • Dr. Zubin Eapen presents on a pilot study using connected e-scales and Apple’s HealthKit for remote weight monitoring for congestive heart failure.
    • Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman from UNC discussed her current mHealth projects on HIV prevention & treatment for young men who have sex with men.  
    • Dr. Veena Misra from NC State University presented her team’s work on self-powered, wearable sensors.

  • We participated in a Tweetup about healthcare in Durham sponsored by @DurhamCares! This Tweetup focused on healthcare access in Durham. Find the storify of the Tweetup here

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