Digital Health Science Digest: Issue 12

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

ResearchKit app helps patients control their asthma, Duke cardiologist weighs in on digital health science in JAMA, and lots of sustainable data policy developments!

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 12



  • A series of small asthma studies conducted by Adherium in partnership with AstraZeneca indicate that medication adherence among children and adolescents with asthma was 144% higher in the group that used a smart inhaler, compared to a control group. They also found an increase in lung function of almost 15%. 
  • …and speaking of asthma, researchers at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine who designed an asthma ResearchKit app heard from their 8,600 study participants that this evaluation tool was helping them better track and understand their conditions – so they added a few features, like a “Doctor Dashboard” and Epic integration. 
  • A new report out by Forrester found that about one-fifth of US adults use a wearable device. Of those, about 11% are “young boomers,” aged 50-59, 7% are aged 60-70, and another 7% are over 70. 


  • Dr. Zubin Eapen, director of the Duke Heart Failure Same-Day Access Clinic and a speaker at last year’s mHealth@Duke conference, published an editorial in JAMA on evaluating digital health interventions. He made the case for longer digital health testing and evaluation periods, and a way of measuring “dose” of a digital health intervention, among other suggestions for evaluating digital health interventions. 
  • The editorial was published in the same issue as an article on the Tobacco, Exercise, and Diet Messages (TEXT ME) trial. This trial found that among patients with coronary heart disease, those that were randomized to receive 4 text messages per week for 6 months saw reductions in BMI, systolic blood pressure, and LDL levels. The researchers also noted changes in behavior such as increased physical activity and a reduction in smoking. 
  • A recent study that collected photos of study participants’ food and drink over a period of 3 weeks showed that people spent on average 15 hours of each day eating. 


  • The US State Department launched a new initiative called “Global Connect,” which aims to bring 1.5 billion people online by 2020 in an effort to drive sustainable development.  
  • The United Nations and member countries (including the US) have created a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data to engage data producers and users all over the world to better measure and evaluate the Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • #InternationalDigitalHealth The National Health Systems Resource Centre in India has created a partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to build public health capacity and better integrate new technologies into the Indian health system. 


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