Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 52

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In this issue: results from a large scale mHealth trial to improve mental health treatment in India, 2 open positions at Duke Digital Health, 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 52



Do you ever wonder where/what/who to go/do/meet to further your digital health knowledge? Duke Digital Health and Smashing Boxes, along with our esteemed speakers from the 5th Annual mHealth@Duke Conference, published a “to-do” list with some ideas! Enjoy! 

This maternal health program is saving lives in Tanzania using emergency mHealth services. In some rural districts, where ambulances are scarce, it can be impossible to get to the hospital in time. Instead, the program rallies a network of taxi drivers to pick up patients quickly and is saving the lives of more than 200 Tanzanian mothers and infants every month.

EHRs get a bad rep for being difficult to implement and time-consuming to use. But new research shows the bright side — EHRs can help with population health surveillance. Aggregating patient data from EHRs can help gather information on conditions throughout the community. In particular, the data could be valuable in rural areas, where there are only one or two major healthcare providers.


The George Institute recently completed a mobile health project in India called the SMART Mental Health Project. Over 27,000 people participated in the study, which was comprised of an anti-stigma campaign and a novel screening process for mental health that utilized tablets and a mobile app. As a result of the study, uptake of mental health services increased by 1,500 times.

A recent analysis of data from the National Cancer Institute’s 2015 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) looked at who uses health apps and the relationship between health app users and healthy behaviors. Researchers found:

  • those who used health apps were more likely to be younger, live in metropolitan areas, have more education, have higher income, speak English well, be Asian, and report excellent health.
  • Neither gender nor race was related to the likelihood that a person had either a tablet or mobile phone. 
  • Those who had both a connected mobile device and a health app were significantly more likely to exercise more than 2 hours per week.


Virginia now allows optometrists and ophthalmologists to conduct patient visits and issue prescriptions through telemedicine. The Virginia Optometric Association hopes to see the bill encourage adherence to in-office quality of care as telemedicine use rises. The bill will go into effect after July 1st.

After months of debate in Ohio about the state’s standards of care for telemedicine, lawmakers have cleared it up with new regulations. The new laws follow the lead of other states that allow relaxing in-person examination requirements in order to help expand the use of telemedicine.

Grab Bag

We are hiring! 2 open positions!  Duke Digital Health invites applications for:
1) a new 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of digital health and obesity. The job description can be found here and more information about our center can be found here.
2) A Senior Clinical Research Specialist. Job description here.

Stride Health is hiring an entry-level position for someone interested in digital health, health insurance, and/or public health. In addition to applying on the website, please email Erica [dot] Levine [@] if you are interested. 

IntraHealth is hiring a Director of Digital Health. Check out the job description here.

The Health Data Exploration Network is holding its third annual Network Meeting and Data Drive in San Diego on Tuesday 5/2 and Wednesday 5/3. The theme this year is “Representing the Person: Promoting Social Justice in the Use of Personal Health Data.” The goal of the meeting is to explore and discuss questions about the ways that personal data represent individuals and populations. 

Global Health Hackathon
Applications close April 28th;
Hackathon is June 12 – June 28
More info here

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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