The promise for diagnostic sensors to provide clinicians with dramatically improved views into the condition of patients is well-understood. But if this potential were an iceberg, we would only be seeing the top inch of a 10-mile-high mass.
Michael Birt believes this medical ecosystem is beginning to change. As director of the Biodesign Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University, he helped launch Project HoneyBee, a research initiative that administers observational clinical trials, testing commercial wearable devices in scientifically rigorous settings. But he says more outreach is needed to help companies that develop the technology to fully serve clinicians.
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"These two worlds haven't been able to work well together because the quality of the sensors and the motivation of the clinicians hasn't been where it needed to be," he says. "But now it is."
One initiative that Birt believes will advance this progress is the Global Connected Health Survey, undertaken by Personal Connected Health Alliance to quantify the opinions held by healthcare professionals toward the use of technology in digital health. On Monday, Nov. 9, at 12:45 p.m., Ipsos Healthcare will present findings from this survey, which featured 11,000 respondents from around the world. It's part of the Life Sciences Roundtable at the HIMSS Connected Health Conference.
"Health clinicians and patients use these devices, but what do people think about them?" Birt asked. "What are their concerns about privacy?"
He believes the findings will help the next generation of digital health technology succeed.
Before those results are presented, Birt will moderate a panel titled "Developing Beyond the Pill Capacity." He plans to discuss validated wearables, trackers, and the developing technology infrastructure to manage large population data with clinical reliability. Scheduled panelists are Adam Baker, head of product design at Iodine; Brian Frederiksen, global leader in strategic partnerships and channels for IBM Watson Health; Adam Pellegrini, vice president of digital health at Walgreens; and Kasey Thompson, vice president of policy, planning and communication for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Birt cites the progress he is seeing in mHealth projects targeting Type 2 diabetes, and he sees Project HoneyBee as a reason for optimism. HoneyBee maintains a database of commercially available wearable biosensors and makes it available to clinicians. The database currently includes more than 260 devices, including fitness trackers like FitBit, Microsoft and Apple devices, and diagnostic sensors such as the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, Fever Smart Temperature sensor and AliveCor heart monitor.
Birt sees the database helping to reduce the time and effort that clinicians need to spend in putting these devices to work helping patients.
For more about the Life Sciences Roundtable, visit the mHealth Summit website.