Digital Health Science Digest: Issue 13

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

mHealth@Duke panel discussion on 10/28! Also: can a wearable help with drug rehab? A new app in India aims to educate citizens about HIV/AIDS.

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 13



  • Can a wearable help with drug rehab? The Q-Sensor is a wearable worn on the wrist that can measure movement, electrodermal activity, skin temperature, and heart rate, which are all important in monitoring drug administration reactions and the management of which can aid in addiction recovery. It’s being tested by researchers at University of Massachusetts Medical School.
  • #globaldigitalhealth – A new app has been launched in India to connect citizens of Chennai with education and services in an effort to prevent HIV and Hepatitis C. 
  • #DukePride – The “Autism & Beyond” app launched this week! The app, developed by researchers at Duke, uses the iPhone camera to measure children’s eye motions and facial reactions to videos. It then runs the measurements through an emotion detection algorithm. The app will use ResearchKit to compile these data, with the goal of one day being able to screen for autism using the iPhone. 


  • You are what you…tweet? In a recent study that looked at correlations between obesity rates of urban areas and tweets from those areas, they found that areas with lower obesity rates discuss food more, specifically fruits and vegetables, as well as physical activity. Also they have “happier tweets.” Quick! Everyone tweet about brocco-…wait a minute. They found correlation, not causation. Ok everyone go eat broccoli! Then tweet about it!
  • Living Well After Breast Cancer was a feasibility trial that tested the effect of a text-message intervention on weight loss maintenance after a high-intensity weight loss intervention. The researchers wanted to choose the right frequency of texts, to “…make regular, but not overwhelming, contact.” Hear, hear! 
  • A weight gain prevention intervention that delivered education either via videos or text (on a website) found that intervention use in both conditions declined rapidly over time, and that those who received the intervention via their preferred method of delivery (video vs. text) used the intervention more frequently. 
  • Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham partnered with a community health center and a network of African American churches in low-income areas of Birmingham to develop and test Diabetes Connect, a web application for community health workers to provide support and education to people with type 2 diabetes.


  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing called, “Removing Barriers to Wireless Broadband Deployment” last week. You can watch the archived broadcast here
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT(ONC) released final rules for the EHR Incentive Programs. The rules will, among other things, ease reporting requirements for providers. Read the final rules here. Stage 3 rules have also been released, with some significant changes which are summarized in part here
  • Yet another bill was introduced in the Senate to allow telemedicine to be practiced by VA docs across state lines. 


  • Join us for our first mHealth@Duke event of 2015-2016!

Getting Started at a Health Tech Startup
Wednesday, October 28th 5:30pm, Gross Hall

With unique perspectives from a VP and co-founder of a medical device company, CEO of a healthcare IT company, and co-founder of an app startup, our 3 experts will offer insider perspectives on questions and decisions facing anyone who wants to start a health-related startup.

  • Staffing updates from DDH: Our Associate Director, Perry Foley, is moving with her family to Portland, Oregon! Our heartfelt thanks to her for all she’s done for us over the past 6 years – We’ll miss you, P! 
  • We’ve started a blog series called, “Does it Work?” where we review studies in academic journals and assess whether and how they provide evidence that technology can have an impact on health outcomes. Check out our first installment about Fitbits, text messaging, and physical activity! 

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