Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 40

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

New RxUniverse allows physicians to prescribe mHealth apps, a review of app effectiveness finds significant effects, 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 40



Mount Sinai Health System in New York City is creating RxUniverse, a platform that allows physicians to prescribe “medically reviewed” mHealth apps to their patients. 

dentalmirrorA new app can turn your smartphone’s camera into a dental mirror, thereby helping patients report dental emergencies, and allowing dentists to assess problems remotely.

HealthTap, which connects consumers and doctors via video, SMS, and voice, has launched HealthTap Cloud. It’s a platform that enhances developers’ ability to build health apps.



A review of 23 studies on the effectiveness of apps to effect behavior change across a wide range of conditions (weight, physical activity, and diet control, medication management, mental health, and alcohol addiction) was published this week in JMIR. About three-quarters of studies reviewed “reported statistically significant effects in the direction of targeted behavior change.” All studies reviewed were conducted in high-income countries.

recyclehealthRecycle Health recently finished a pilot study on their use of recycled activity trackers – a teaser of the results can be found here, in their recent article in Wellocracy.
In a study comparing virtual reality-enhanced cognitive-behavioral therapy (VR-CBT) to a standard behavioral inpatient CBT program, patients in the VR condition had a greater probability of maintaining or improving weight loss at a 1 year follow-up than those randomized to the standard program.

A review of 53 studies on the impact of Electronic Medical Records on the patient-doctor relationship suggests that EMR use does not negatively impact the patient-doctor relationship.  Infographic of systematic review process and results here.


yourvotecountsJust in case you haven’t heard, it’s an election year in the USA! Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. Apply behavioral science principles to voting, and make a voting action plan!

Do you know:
Where your polling place is?
If no, Google your state’s board of elections website. It will likely let you look up your polling place.

When you will vote?
If no, take a look at your calendar and reserve some time!

How you will get to your polling place?
If not, try this handy tool that will give you different options.

Who you will vote for (not just national elections, local ones, too!)?
Many local newspapers have endorsements! 

FYI: In North Carolina, early voting ends tomorrow, November 5th.

Grab bag

New on the DDH blog: 2 posts this week by our Director, Gary Bennett! One discusses Gina Kolata’s recent NYTimes piece on obesity, and the other is about the science behind genetic tests and the potential dangers of moving fast without building an evidence base.

Congratulations to Dr. Ricky Bloomfield on his new position at Apple! Ricky helped pioneer mHealth solutions at Duke Health and he will be sorely missed. 


DIHI has announced the next funding cycle for demonstration pilots in healthcare innovation. DIHI is specifically interested in: population health and analytics; novel patient interactions (engagement, education, and experience); team-based and new care models; optimizing patient flow; and preventing burnout and building resilience. Applications are due November 7, 2016.






Upcoming Events

Science as Social Activism, Not Just Liberal Chic
2016 T-K Li Distinguished Lecture
Tuesday, 11/8, 4p, Trent Semans Science Center, Great Hall
Dr. Carl Hart, Chair of Psychology at Columbia University 
More Info

Workshop: Developing Sustainable and Scalable Business Models for Digital Health Innovations in Low-Resource Settings
Wednesday, 11/9, 12 – 2p, Trent Hall 040
Come learn business model approaches for taking your health innovation to scale! Bring a team or come on your own! 
Facilitator: Sidd Goyal, CTO, TinyURL 
More info

Duke Health Analytics Workshop
Friday, 11/1 11:45am – 5pm Holst-Anderson Family Assembly Room 153 Rubenstein Library
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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