Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 64

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In this issue: WhatsApp for ECGs, a new publication from 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 64



Think WhatsApp is just for chatting with friends? Not anymore – in Argentina, ambulance doctors are using WhatsApp to send ECGs directly to hospitals to streamline patients’ treatment, saving valuable time and reducing mortality.

Feeling stressed? This app uses mindfulness techniques to reduce stress in its users, significantly reducing cortisol levels. In particular, the Carnegie Mellon study showed the smartphone format led to 96% adherence.

In southwest Virginia, the Health Wagon is using telehealth, mHealth, and more digital health tools to target regional health issues like opioid abuse and lack of healthcare access. With these tools, the Health Wagon provides quality healthcare to hard-to-reach communities in need.


Duke Digital Health researchers & colleagues recently published a paper outlining the effect of the Shape Program, a technology-based weight gain prevention program among black women, on physical activity. 

A single-item question used to measure stress (SISQ) was recently tested for validity and reliability when delivered via text message and found to be predictive of sick leave, depression, and exhaustion at 12-month follow up.

Are you planning a hackathon? Check out this event report of an mHealth hackathon in Thailand. The event tackled key health challenges such as improving health literacy, tracking disease trajectory and outcomes among rural populations, and supporting the workflow of overburdened frontline providers.


This report from Epstein Becker Green found that nearly every state has updated its telemedicine legislation from last year, from changing regulations around its delivery to defining its use for mental health. This includes states where telemedicine had little to no legal standing, and shows that telemedicine is becoming more and more part of normal treatment for patients.

As telemedicine grows more popular, this workgroup from the American Academy of Neurology has developed a curriculum for how telemedicine should be used. The curriculum hopes to ensure telemedicine is used to the fullest of its potential.

Grab Bag

Duke has contracted with Medable to help researchers create their own ResearchKit or ResearchStack apps.  Click here for more details!

HIMSS and Healthcare IT News hosted a Population Health Forum in Chicago earlier this month. At the forum, participants discussed how, by harnessing data to address social determinants of health, it’s possible to improve population health and save  trillions of dollars in the process. For example, a recent program that prompted doctors to offer SNAP benefits saw a decrease in the number of days patients were either physically or mentally not well in half. 

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

Achieving  Health Equity: The Impact of Social Determinants of Housing, Education, and Employment on Health Disparities
Monday, October 30th, 8am – 12pm
JB Duke Hotel
More info & RSVP

2017 Global Health Research Showcase
Wednesday, November 1st, 5pm – 7pm
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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