Duke Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 85

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In this issue: an artificially intelligent global health initiative, patents for biometric sensing, 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 85



Ada Health, one of the world’s largest growing health apps, is launching a Global Health Initiative. It’s Artificial Intelligence-powered app will include Swahili and Romanian language integrations to improve the health and wellbeing of those with limited access to healthcare. 

The American Medical Association’s technology enterprise, Health2047, announced the launch of its second company, First Mile Care. The company will build a scalable program that connects people with prediabetes to coaches and “demographic-appropriate behavior change guidance.” 

Amazon and Alexa have both received patents for biometric sensing. An Alexa feature could allow for passive detection of illness (…in order to recommend remedies), and Walmart would like to develop a “connected” shopping cart handle (gah!) that detects heart rate, palm temperature, grip force, and walking speed. 

The European Investment Bank will back Ireland’s eHealth program with a €225 million loan. This is the first eHealth project that the Bank is supporting


This longitudinal study characterized patient experience sentiments across the US on Twitter over a 4-year period. After collecting over 27 million tweets between 2013 and 2017, researchers found that, “the sentiment of tweets” posted between 8pm – 10am were more negative, as were tweets in metropolitan areas. 

A mixed-methods evaluation of a national Telehealth weight management program for US veterans (TeleMOVE) revealed that there is a great need for partnership-based research to help veteran health service organizations overcome implementation challenges of telemedicine-based interventions. 

A recent pilot study of a culturally adapted mHealth weight loss lifestyle intervention, Pilipino Americans Go4Health, designed for Filipino Americans with type 2 diabetes, found that this application was feasible among this population and demonstrated potential efficacy in reducing diabetes risks.


Check out this feature from Healthcare IT News on how tech and policy are fighting the opioid epidemic

It seems that finally, Americans are in agreement that having a pre-existing condition should not preclude someone from finding health insurance coverage. Check out this STAT News article that breaks down the implications of this for the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Over the past year, the Food and Drug Administration has been working with tech companies to start a program to allow them to sell some medical software without needing FDA review. A few top-ranking Democrats submitted a letter to the FDA posing many questions about the logistics and implications of this new program

…and on that note, here are the major device, app, and algorithm approvals of 2018 so far! 

Upcoming Events

Digital Health Happy Hour
Wednesday, October 17th, American Underground @ Main
October’s focus is on “Driving Innovation to Impact” and the featured speaker is Mary Beth Thomas, PhD., Senior VP, Science and Business Development, NC Biotechnology Center

mHealth Applications in Global Health
Wednesday, November 7th, 11:45am
Hock Auditorium
Lunch will be provided; registration is required

This month, the Mobile App Gateway seminar series will take a look at digital health technologies from a global health perspective. The event will feature Dr. Lavanya Vasudevan, Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine, and two Duke students, Mary Brannock, MS Candidate in Global Health and Linh Bui, a Trinity College of Arts and Sciences student participating in the Bass Connections Program. They will use the backdrop of their three different research projects to discuss strategies and considerations for developing a digital health product that is tailored for your specific project.

Save the Date(s)!
The 2018 DHIT Summit will convene internationally recognized thought leaders in key stakeholders from the healthcare ecosystem to dig deep into how digital health can pervasively be used to transform the way we design and deliver care. 
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
8:00am – 5:00pm
More details and register 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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