Duke Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 82

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

This issue is all about apps! Mental health apps, teens and apps, HIV-related apps – all the apps! Also, funding opportunities! 

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 82



mHealth apps geared towards mental health may not be giving the best advice about how and when to seek treatment, according to some new research. Researchers reviewed 60 popular consumer-facing apps in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, and found that they oversimplify mental health conditions, which has the potential not only to discourage people from seeking professional care, but also to “promote the medicalization of normal states,” states Lisa Parker, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sydney.

Results from a recent survey suggest that almost two-thirds of US teens and young adults have used a mobile health app. Fitness apps were the most common; about 10% reported using an app related to meditation or mindfulness; another 9% reported using apps for stress reduction. In addition, only 25% of users surveyed reported that they “currently” use health apps.  

An mHealth app designed at the University of Virginia has improved care management and coordination for patients with HIV. It has also helped them suppress the virus. The study followed 77 patients who had a recent diagnosis of HIV. After 12 months of using the app, the number of patients who reported regular visits to the clinic increased from 51% to 81%, and the number of patients who had achieved viral suppression increased from 47% to 79%. 

Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania has partnered with AstraZeneca to develop a “connected health suite” to improve care management and coordination for people with asthma. The platform combines mHealth devices in the home with the patient’s EHR data, and health system officials say the platform could serve as a model for programs covering other chronic conditions. 


To text or not to text*? This is the question…posed by researchers to figure out which communication modes were preferred by adults who smoke and live in urban, socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
*literally, this is the title of the article

Are apps effective in supporting the self-management of hypertension? Check out this systematic review on effectiveness and usability.

Is a text message-based program that delivers maternal health information to pregnant and postpartum women a cost-effective strategy for bolstering antenatal care and childhood immunizations

Call for abstracts: The submission site for ObesityWeek 2018 late-breaking abstracts will be open from July 20th – August 6th. ObesityWeek is hosted by The Obesity Society.

Call for abstracts: The submission site for The Society of Behavioral Medicine will be open until September 12th at 11:59pm ET. 


A recent proposal from the US government called the Federal Data Strategy aims to design an approach that will “define principles, practices and a yearlong action plan to deliver a more consistent approach to federal data stewardship, use, and access. You can review the strategy and give your feedback on it here.

The American Hospital Association has called on the federal government to increase funding for technological infrastructure in rural areas such as broadband connectivity, reimbursement for virtual visits, and the means to conduct remote patient monitoring. 

US Congress members have called for an investigation into facial recognition technology. This call comes after the American Civil Liberties Union indicated that Amazon’s facial recognition software had misidentified dozens of members of Congress, and pointed out that it was even less accurate at identifying people of color.

Digital Health Funding

In this section, you’ll find research funding opportunities in digital health as we hear about them, and highlights of recently funded studies. If you have a funding opportunity you’d like us to include, please email erica.levine@duke.edu.


Funding Opportunities

The LiveWell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center issued an RFP to fund 4-5 projects centered around the development of assistive and/or accessibility apps. LiveWell is a virtual center at Duke and Northeastern Universities that focuses on Information and Communication Technology access and development. Deadline is 8/15! Please click here for more information.

The Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) has a Request for Applications open for demonstration pilots. DIHI is interested in solutions that align with the following thematic areas: preventing healthcare-acquired infection and enhancing quality and safety; population health and analytics; building resilience and well-being; enhanced transitions of care; novel patient interactions; team-based and new care models. Please go here for more information. The deadline is Friday, 9/28/18 by 6pm EST. This opportunity is open to all Duke faculty, staff, trainers, and students.  

Upcoming Events

Save the Date(s)!
The first Digital Health Week at Duke, sponsored by the Mobile App Gateway!
September 17-20, 2018
Information will be posted here as it becomes available!

Digital Health Innovation Jam
Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) is hosting its 4th annual Innovation Jam. Suggested themes for idea submissions include, but are not limited to:
1) Innovative devices
2) Novel use of analytics
3) Digital health/mHealth

Applications are due August 24th by 5pm. The Innovation Jam will be on Thursday, October 4th at 11am in Trent Semans Great Hall

For more information, contact Krista Whalen (Krista dot Whalen at Duke dot edu).

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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