Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 43

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

Our year-end digest! Read on for a look back at 2016 and some exciting things happening in 2017! 

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 43



ICYMI, RockHealth released its annual survey of more than 4,000 US consumers on digital health, wearables, and data sharing. One interesting finding is that, “more people responded that their primary motivator for sharing health data would be to bolster medical research (62%) rather than a financial reward (42%).”

Pew Research Center released a few reports towards the end of 2016 that might be of interest to all you digital health researchers out there. In November, they released a social media update for 2016. A week or so ago, they released a report on information overload. A few interesting findings from these reports are:

  • 79% of Internet users use Facebook.
  • Urban and rural-dwelling online adults who use Facebook and Twitter do so in roughly equal numbers (81% use Facebook and 26% urban / 24% rural use Twitter).
  • Among smartphone owners, 28% percent who use messaging apps (like WhatsApp or Kik) make less than $50,000/year. That is roughly equal to the percent who make $50,000 and over (29%).
  • Those who make less than $30,000/year, have a high school education or less, or are 65 and over are more likely to feel overloaded by information. 

Food for thought as we move into 2017: maybe the digital divide isn’t so much about access to technology, but readiness to use it? Pew Research Center published a fascinating report on this in September, which you can find here.


A new review of technology-based interventions for weight management presents a summary of the current literature and addresses persistent challenges to future research.

A recent pilot study found that Fitbits (TM) plus text-message support and health coaching sessions can help cancer survivors increase their physical activity and self-regulation. One surprising finding was a statistically significant increase in fatigue severity. All components of the intervention received high satisfaction marks.

A personalized digital health weight loss program for children & adolescents aged 10-17 did not promote more weight loss than a standard lifestyle program, findings from a recent randomized controlled trial suggest.

As 2016 comes to a close, we finally have some evidence as to whether Pokémon Go had an effect on physical activity. And? Click here to find out! 


screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-1-54-36-pmThe National Defense Authorization Act was approved by Congress this week. This bill makes telehealth services available under the TRICARE program at the US Department of Defense. Importantly, the bill treats telehealth the same way as in-person visits, though without deductibles or copayments. Providers will be able to seek reimbursement for telehealth services that provide health evaluation, diagnoses, treatment supervision and outcomes monitoring.

It’s possible that we have the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to thank for this new bill. In 2014, almost 700,000 veterans participated in over 2 million virtual visits with providers.

Check out for possible funding in digital health. One challenge of interest may be:

  • The Privacy Policy Snapshot Challenge – Help consumers learn how apps use patient health data. Open until April 10, 2017.

Grab bag

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Duke Digital Health! 

The next issue of the DDH Digest will be out on Friday, January 6th, 2017(!!!)

Speaking of having happy holidays, the Duke Digital Health Holiday Playlist is up on Spotify! Check it out here!






2017 mHealth@Duke Shark Tank!  
This year’s focus is on closing health disparities. 
Round 1 applications are due Friday, 2/17/17 at 5pm 
More info

Save the Date! 
5th Annual mHealth@Duke Conference
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
More Info Soon! 

MEDx Mobile Technology Seminar
Researchers and clinicians from across Duke will present on their work, resources available in the mobile tech space, and discuss clinical needs and opportunities for collaboration.
Wednesday, 2/1 @ 12p-2p, Pratt School of Engineering
More Info Soon! 

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