Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 63

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In this issue: sensor tattoos, cyber security in medical devices, 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 63



There are a bunch of devices that track “calories out” through exercise, but what about “calories in”? Klue, a new wearable tracker, can track your hand movements to determine whether you’re eating or drinking and help guide healthier eating habits.

But researchers at MIT and Harvard are looking past apps and wearables to create a smartphone-connected sensor on the skin in the form of a tattoo. These tattoos would be used to track biometrics like glucose or sodium levels.

Smoking can be a hard habit to kick, with dangerous consequences: of the 40 million smokers in the US, roughly 500,000 will die each year from smoking-related causes. This smoking cessation app recently received FDA clearance for its carbon monoxide tracker to target the user’s smoking habits.

“This tool proved to be very beneficial. There was no interruption of treatment here.” These are words every digital health designer or developer wants to hear from a client. No doubt they were extra meaningful given that these words were said about an app that helped the Harris County Public Health Department keep tabs on about 60 patients with tuberculosis in Houston who were displaced by Hurricane Harvey.


Adherence to treatments for alcohol use disorders is below 50%. A study was conducted in Denmark to test the effectiveness of a usual treatment with treatment + optional videoconferencing. Results indicate that offering optional videoconferencing as an add-on to treatment may prevent premature dropout and prolong treatment courses.

A recent study tested the acceptability and feasibility of SmokefreeMOM, a national smoking cessation text-messaging program for pregnant smokers. After 3 months, the program received a high overall rating, despite technical problems


A new bill introduced in the House addresses cybersecurity concerns with medical devices by requiring the FDA to develop medical device guidelines in partnership with cybersecurity experts. On the other side, medical device manufacturers have argued for industry standards to avoid innovation-stifling regulations.

Telehealth and telemedicine regulations continue to be a hot topic with policymakers, one being the D.C. Department of Health, which is looking to define the two digital health practices and set guidelines for their use and reimbursement. Regulatory boards in Texas and Florida are addressing similar issues.

Grab Bag

Duke has contracted with Medable to help researchers create their own ResearchKit or ResearchStack apps. See the Events section below or click here for more details! 

The Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) announced its next funding cycle for demonstration pilots in digital health. All faculty, staff, and trainees are encouraged to apply (Deadline: 10/6). This cycle, DIHI is looking for:
1) Population health and analytics
2) Building resilience and well-being
3) Novel patient interactions
4) Team-based and new care models
5) Optimizing patient flow
6) Enhanced transitions of care
More information and application here!

We are recruiting!

We are looking for participants for a new study! Dr. Dori Steinberg is leading a study that uses a diet tracking app to improve adherence to a healthy diet among women who are at risk for heart disease. We’re looking for women ages 21-70 who can come to Durham, NC for regular visits, have pre-hypertension or hypertension, use a smartphone, and have an email account. Click here for more info and to see if you’re eligible! 

Upcoming Events

Digital Health in the Triangle: Happy Hour
Wednesday, October 18th, 5pm – 6:30pm
American Underground (@Main)
201 West Main Street

Duke Mobile App Gateway Kickoff
Thursday, October 19th, 8am – 12pm
Trent Semans Center
More info & RSVP

Advancing Women’s Health in a Changing Political Environment
Friday, October 20th, 1pm – 6pm
Great Hall, Trent Semans Center
More info & RSVP

The State of Connected Health: 2018’s Critical Trends to Watch
Wednesday, November 18th, 2pm
More info & RSVP

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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