Duke Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 65

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In this issue: iPhone ultrasounds, big steps in digital health policy for veterans, 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 65



Two-thirds of the world doesn’t have access to medical imaging, and Butterfly IQ is trying to do something about it. Its iPhone-connected ultrasound scanner just received FDA clearance and is a fraction of the cost of a normal ultrasound.

Nearly half of Africans lack access to modern health services, though the continent accounts for a quarter of global disease cases. To bridge this healthcare gap, digital health interventions like mHealth apps and AI tools can help connect citizens to doctors who may not be physically accessible.

Google recently unveiled the first four companies to join Launchpad Studio, its healthcare accelerator. The startups vary from using Google Glass to streamline patient visits to building a platform for wearables.


Korean American immigrant women have one of the lowest rates of breast cancer screening rates in the US. A recent RCT assigned 120 Korean American women to either the mMammogram intervention or usual care. mMammogram is a mobile phone application that provides personally tailored multilevel messages regarding mammograms, as well as health navigator services. After 6 months, a significantly higher proportion of women who received the mMammogram intervention completed mammograms compared with the control group.

A new systematic review was published this month on digital innovations for HIV and sexually transmitted infections

A qualitative interview in Ireland aimed to explore general practitioners’ perspectives on digital health technologies to support self-management in patients with hypertension. Findings suggested that physicians could see the potential of these technologies to engage patients in self-management activities, but concerns arose regarding potential increased workload and healthcare use among the ‘worried well.’ 


The House recently passed the VETS Act, which allows Veterans Affairs providers to offer telemedicine across state lines. The bill has received support from all sides, including states, provider organizations, and private health IT groups.

It was a big week for veterans in digital health policy, as the House also unanimously passed the Veterans’ EHR Modernization Oversight Act, which requires the VA to provide updates on its transition to EHR.

Grab Bag

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

The NIH has decided to ask 10,000 participants in the All of Us research program to wear Fitbits for one year as part of President Obama’s Personalized Medicine Initiative. The Fitbits will help researchers track activity, sleep, and heart rate among participants. 

Digital Health Funding

Who Got Funded

Project Name:  MI-BP: mHealth to Improve Blood Pressure Control in Hypertensive African Americans
Organization: University of Michigan
Grant Type: NIH-R01
Description: MI-BP is a multiple health behavior change mobile intervention aimed at improving hypertension management among African American adults between 25 and 55. Its efficacy will be tested in a randomized controlled trial against a usual care group using paper-based self-monitoring strategies for hypertension control.

Project Name:  Mobile Health Obesity Wellness Intervention in Rural Adults
Organization: Dartmouth College
Grant Type: NIH-K23
Description: This pilot research will consist of a mixed-methods study to assess the usability, utility, and perceived value of using an mHealth device to improve strength and promote weight loss among older adults. The device will then be studied in a single-arm pilot feasibility study in addition to weekly individual dietitian-led nutritional sessions and twice-weekly physical therapist-led group exercise sessions. 

Funding Opportunities

The HeadHealthTECH Challenge
Funder(s):  The National Football League, Football Research, Inc., and Duke’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Details: Submissions are requested that propose studies related to improving helmets and improvements to helmets or the surfaces they contact.
Due Date: January 10, 2018

Upcoming Events

Digital Health Happy Hour
Guest speaker: Corey Mercy, Director, Health Information Technology, NC Dept of Health and Human Services,
Wednesday, November 15th, 5pm – 6:30pm
HQ Capital Club
16 W. Martin St, 12th floor, Raleigh

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: erica.levine@duke.edu

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