Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 55

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

A Facebook Messenger chatbot for people with anxiety, newly funded digital health research, and more in the latest 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 55



Apple unveiled upgrades for the Apple Watch at #wwdc17 that make the smartwatch apps more independent from the iPhone. The new updates will also be able to connect to more health and fitness apps, and enhance some gaming features for working out.

A new chatbot available on Facebook Messenger offers support to users with anxiety or depression. Woebot is a tool based on cognitive behavioral therapy that will check in with users periodically to essentially serve as a sounding board; a way for people to share feelings without fear of judgement. According to a small randomized trial among college students, the bot was preferable to using a self-help e-book.


A new theme issue was published by Johns Hopkins in JMIR on, “The Use of Mobile Technologies for National-Scale Population Surveys” – check out the collection of articles in the issue

Does positive or negative feedback work better to promote physical activity in a digital intervention? In other words…👍🏾 > 👎🏽? 

A new systematic review presents updated figures on racial and ethnic minority enrollment in randomized clinical trials of behavioural weight loss utilizing technology. The review seems to include smartphones, but no other types of telephony. One key finding was that there was significantly higher racial minority enrollment in studies that utilized smartphones, compared with those that were delivered via web, email, PDA, smart scales or wearables, or other software). 


Check out this summary from HiMSS of the FY18 proposed budget from the White House, and how budget changes could affect digital health.

Digital Health Funding

Who Got Funded 
Project Name: Reducing Cervical Cancer Health Disparities Among African American Women: An mHealth Approach to Improving Prevention & Treatment Outcomes
Grant Type: R43
Organization: ISA Associates, Inc.
Project Description: Development of a mobile phone-based program to increase HPV vaccination rates, increase cervical cytology, and improve follow-up to abnormal Pap results through text-based reminders and educational and supportive messages as well as videos. 

Project Name: Breastfeeding Support and Weight Management for Black Women: A Dual Intervention
Organization: Michigan State University
Grant Type: R21
Project Description: This study will incorporate a weight management component into an effective breastfeeding support program using a combination of in-person, telephone, and interactive web/mobile-based health counseling to provide education and support for breastfeeding difficulties and postpartum weight management. 

Grab Bag

New report on technology from Pew Research Center: 

We are hiring for 2 open positions!  Duke Digital Health invites applications for:
1) A 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of digital health and obesity. The job description can be found here and more information about Duke Digital Health can be found here.
2) A Clinical Research Coordinator to run a 4-year digital weight loss research trial. 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.

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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