Duke Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 72

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In this issue of the Digital Health Science Digest: Digital health devices to prevent strokes, engaging and retaining HIV-positive patients using mobile 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 72



Thus far, technologies developed to make the world more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired have focused on audio-based aids. A recent article in MedCityNews outlines some applications that utilize augmented and virtual reality tools to make the world more accessible. 

The National Health System (NHS) in the United Kingdom is looking to digital health devices to prevent strokes and cut down on healthcare costs. It is estimated that new technologies being distributed to practices, pharmacies, and community clinics across England this month could save the NHS up to £81 million per year.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working with DeepMind (a subsidiary of Alphabet) to develop solutions that aim to prevent patient deterioration during hospital stays


Can text messaging engage adults with type 2 diabetes regardless of health status? 

Results from a recent systematic review found encouraging evidence about how eHealth can be used to engage and retain people with HIV across the treatment and care cascade in the Asia-Pacific region.

Patients using a mobile health program to manage substance abuse were able to improve their addiction outcomes, even despite low clinician engagement with the tool.

Ok – but like, is mobile phone ownership a serious barrier to participation in studies?


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified a machine learning device for pediatric behavioral health a diagnostic medical device for autism. The device, developed by a company called Cognoa, uses machine learning to provide an assessment of child development and evaluate behavioral health. It can identify autism among children as young as 18 months.

States across the US are looking to mobile health apps and other tools to improve public health. Wyoming recently made an app called Family Health available to its residents. The app can track health metrics for multiple family members and is meant to help increase access to healthcare resources.

The Trump administration proposed a new rule to allow insurers to sell short-term health insurance up to 12 months. Under a previous Affordable Care Act regulation, these plans were not allowed because insurers under these plans can reject applicants who have pre-existing conditions. There is a concern among health policy analysts that people may switch to these plans, believing them to be better than the ACA-compliant plans, thereby increasing average monthly individual market premiums for those under ACA-compliant plans. 

Grab Bag

The LiveWell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center is sponsoring an app development competition for middle, high school, and college students as well as non-professional developers. The app challenge is intended to promote awareness of the need for assistive and accessible technologies by fostering innovation. Submissions are due May 1. More information and guidelines here

Here’s your #longread for this weekend –  Estonia, the Digital Republic by Nathan Heller. Published in The New Yorker, December 18 & 25, 2017 Issue


Upcoming Events

Digital Health Rules & Regulations: An Overview of FDA Guidelines
This seminar is open to Duke faculty, staff, and students, and will give an overview of the FDA’s approach to regulating mobile medical apps and software. Participants are encouraged to bring a mobile device to participate in case scenarios. Light breakfast will be served.
Tuesday, March 20th 9-10am
Duke North 2003
Sign up 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: erica.levine@duke.edu

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