Digital Health Science Center – Issue 48

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In today’s issue: register for the 5th Annual mHealth@Duke Conference, NATO launches telemedicine kits, and more!

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 48



After three years of testing, NATO is ready to launch emergency telemedicine kits for urgent situations or combat zones around the world. These kits would improve access to medical services, especially in places where medical teams are unable to physically access people in need. NATO also foresees the kits streamlining teams that are sent to emergency scenes.

Nearly 80 million Americans live in areas that don’t have readily accessible mental health professionals, and 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive appropriate health service in the previous year. This week, telemedicine provider MDLive became the first to offer behavioral health services in all 50 states, to try to fill the need for convenient virtual behavioral health.

In other national expansion news, medical house call app Heal is also planning to expand its services from the West Coast to cities in New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. According to Heal’s founders, the app has reduced its members ER visits by more than 60%.

Lesotho has the world’s second highest HIV prevalence, and the situation is even more dire for women, who often have fewer resources and lack accessibility to regular health services. This project hopes to change that, using mHealth technology and roving clinics to help HIV-positive women and children get access to treatment.


A new paper published by Duke Digital Health summarizes the effect of a weight gain prevention intervention on sleep in Black women. Shape, a technology-based weight gain prevention intervention for Black women, improved sleep quality and sleep “disturbance” (e.g., snoring, somnolence) even after adjusting for weight change.

Results from a cost-effectiveness analysis of a campaign-style text message-based intervention to improve health among patients in Australia with coronary heart disease suggest an overall savings of $10.56 million AUS for the health system over the patients’ lives.

Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) can help researchers collect real-time information on risky behaviors, as evidenced by a recent study. The study tested EMA feasibility among 25 self-identified African American gay and bisexual young men. EMA prompts assessed “sexting” and substance abuse as well as mood, for a period of 2 weeks.


Congress is revisiting the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act, which would expand Medicare reimbursement nationwide for telestroke services. Currently, these services are covered only in rural areas. Because timely treatment is so important for stroke patients, proponents hope the Act will give them faster access to evaluation and treatment.

With the future of healthcare in the US still unclear under the new administration, this article takes a look at what’s ahead for digital health and health policy. One big question? What’s happening to Medicare and Medicaid.

Digital Health Funding

Find recently funded research and funding opportunities in digital health. If you have a funding opportunity you’d like us to include, please email

Who Got Funded 

Project Name: Reducing Non-Medical Opioid Use: An Automatically Adaptive mHealth Intervention
Organization: University of Michigan
Description: In the US, problems associated with opioid prescriptions represent a public health crisis. Emergency departments (EDs) play an important role in prescribing opioids. This project will randomly assign patients (n=600) recruited through the ED to receive interactive voice response calls that will assess non-medical opioid use and pain level and deliver intervention content. These calls will vary in intensity by intervention arm: assessment only, a brief message, extended messaging, or connection to a therapist by phone. The interventions will employ an artificial intelligence strategy called reinforcement learning. 

Grab Bag

We are hiring!  Duke Digital Health invites applications for a new 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of digital health and obesity. Full job description can be found here and more information about our center can be found here.

Another open position! The Duke ADHD Program invites applications for a new 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of digital health and ADHD. Full job description can be found here and more information about the ADHD program at Duke can be found here. awarded 10 grants totaling $11.5 million for projects that advance racial justice through criminal justice reform. 

Register today for the 5th Annual mHealth@Duke Conference! 
The Lifecycle of Digital Health Science
Wednesday, April 12th 
9am – 4pm Great Hall, Trent Semans Center for Health Education, Duke Medicine
Powered by Duke Digital Health & Smashing Boxes
Registration is free but limited
Click here to register!

Check out the 2nd Annual Global Health Film Festival, hosted by Duke Global Health Institute! 
Running through March 5th!
Please visit the website to see the full schedule.

Core Day
Learn about shared resources at the School of Medicine.
Thursday, 3/9, 9am – 4pm
Great Hall, Trent Semans Center for Health Education
Register here.

Save the Date: A panel discussion on micro health insurance and mobile wallets in East Africa
Jeff Moe, Professor of Global Health, Duke Global Health Institute
Vincent Okungu, Lecturer in Health Economics, Strathmore University, Nairobi
Peter Gross, Marketing Director, MicroEnsure Labs 
Tuesday, March 28th
12 – 1pm, Trent Hall, 040
Check the Duke Global Health Institute event calendar for updates

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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