Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 37

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

The first hospital-based gaming app for children, wearables *not* helpful for weight loss(?!?!), 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 37



lassoSt. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital launched the first hospital-based game app in the country. It helps familiarize patients with the hospital environment and offers health information. In future versions, children will be able to play with each other.

Novartis is adding digital coaching to some of its drug trials in an effort to improve adherence. Coaching will be used in both intervention and control groups, and will be an optional add-on to drug therapy.

A new mHealth study revealed that over half (58%) of US smartphone owners have shared medical information over the Internet. This article argues that these numbers indicate a shift in attitudes towards data sharing; specifically, that fears about security are waning. What do you think? 


flagProtocol: A 6-month pilot aims to test the feasibility and efficacy of the Filipino Americans Go4Health Weight Loss Program, which is a mobile phone-based randomized controlled trial for Filipinos with type 2 diabetes.  Did you know: Filipino Americans have the highest prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes compared to all Asian subgroups and non-Hispanic whites?

A web-based intervention for Chinese traumatized individuals found higher engagement with the website among rural participants as compared to urban participants.

Surprising results from a weight loss intervention among young adults found that adding a fitness wearable to a standard behavioral intervention (low-calorie diet, group counseling sessions, dietary self-monitoring) resulted in less weight loss over 2 years (compared to the group that didn’t get the wearable). Might there be something about passive monitoring that makes us rely more on the device than we should to do the work for us? Or does the type of wearable matter? Or maybe it’s something else?  #talkamongstyourselves


Did you know that this week is Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week?  To mark the occasion, the FDA is launching the 2016 Naloxone App Competition. The competition hopes to spur innovation around connecting people who are experiencing an overdose with others nearby who may carry naloxone, a life-saving antidote. The deadline to register is October 7th. 

The USDA will fund 7 new telemedicine programs (joining 36 others) through its Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program. The program focuses primarily on rural areas of the US and funds initiatives to use telehealth in myriad ways, from a 24-hour nurse help line and remote monitoring program, to offering primary and mental healthcare, to systems strengthening.

Grab bag

twilioDo you use Twilio to send your SMS messages? They just launched an online resource to help users navigate text messaging rules in the 200+ countries where they work.

View of blue mountains with reflection in lake

Remember that time we wrote a blog series with Vanessa Mason from P2Health? We do! Check out all 5 parts of Digital Health Innovations for Medically Vulnerable Populations, starting with Part 1.

Shout out to our Director, Gary Bennett, and our graduate student, Shelley Lanpher (a Duke undergrad alum!) , who gave a talk on using technology to heal the poor at yesterday evening’s #DukeForward event. We’re hoping the video will be available soon! 


Upcoming Events

New Tools for Research Success @Duke
Tuesday, 9/27, 11:45a – 1p, 124 Trent Hall
More info.

DIHI’s 2nd Annual Innovation Jam – Finalist Presentations 
Tuesday, 10/4, 1p – 3p, Duke South Clinic Amphitheater
More info

Future Directions in Global Health: The DGHI 10th Anniversary Symposium
Wednesday, 10/5, 8:30am-3:30p, Great Hall, Trent Semans Center for Health Education 
Registration is full; join via livecast!
Our Director, Gary Bennett, is giving a 10-minute presentation, Harnessing Technology to Address Global Health Challenges at 1:45pm.

Introduce a Girl to Photonics: Exploring Light Technologies
Hosted by the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics
Co-sponsors include Duke MEDx
Sunday, 10/9, 1-4pm FCIEMAS Atrium, Duke West Campus
Free and open to the public
More info

Diabetes and Big Data: Why Medical History Matters for Machine Learning
Wednesday, 10/19, 12-1p, Hosted by the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine
Duke Hospital Lecture Hall 2002, Lunch provided
More info

If you’d like to submit an event or article for us to publish in our digest, please send at least 3 weeks before the event to:


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