Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 31

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

Telemedicine gets support in Ghana, a tech-based intervention helps young adults stave off weight gain, and more in this week’s 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 31



  • #globaldigitalhealth: After a successful pilot, telemedicine is being rolled out countrywide in Ghana. In addition to being useful to help with maternal and child health, telemedicine programs can help health workers in remote areas manage non-communicable diseases.
  • Over 7 million Americans living with cancer experience chronic pain. A new wearable may help them manage it, and a new project by Scripps Translational Science Institute and NeruoMetrix is planning on studying this question. 


  • Outcomes: A pragmatic randomized trial using interactive voice response and calls with a care transition nurse aimed to reduce rehospitalization and days in the hospital for patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The intervention did not reduce rehospitalization rates, but did reduce days in hospital among COPD patients. Protocol paper for this trial can be found here.
  • Long Term Outcomes: A community-based RCT in Sydney, Australia, randomly assigned 250 young adults (18-35yo) to a 12-week mHealth weight gain prevention intervention or to usual care. The intervention included coaching calls, text messages, emails, apps, and a website. At 12 weeks, the intervention produced modest weight loss. After 9 months, intervention participants had lost a little more weight than they had at 12 weeks. There were no changes in physical activity, but dietary improvements were made and maintained over the 9-month follow up period.


  • Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released her Tech and Innovation Agenda this week. Included in the plan are calls for continued open data initiatives, expanded investment in cybersecurity, and for appointing a chief innovation advisor. 
  • Vice President Joe Biden brought government agencies, biopharma companies, researchers, data experts, patients and caregivers together for the Cancer Moonshot Summit earlier this week. You go, VPB!       


Grab bag

  • Dr. Aaron J. Hipp from NC State sat down with Ernie Hood for WCOM radio to chat about ways that novel implementation of traditional technologies can help promote active living policies and inform design of public space to promote health.
  • Check out this insightful article on digital health for medically vulnerable populations, published by Kaiser Health News (it also ran on NPR).

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