Can wearable devices lead to better health outcomes?

Reflections on the South BD Hub mHealth Workshop

By Chenzhang Bao

mhealth-phone-e1498589419307.jpgIn recent years, mobile health (mHealth) has become one of the most popular health care movements for patients and providers. Consumers have embraced the use of mHealth applications in their daily lives through wearable devices, and use these apps to monitor their exercise routines, heartbeats, and sleep quality. The use of mHealth apps is critical for research into new mechanisms designed to improve the quality of patient engagement; a factor that has previously been hard to measure or even unobservable to providers. One important research question looks at the relationship between patients’ usage of mHealth devices, their engagement in their own health and the future health outcomes.

Visiting the doctor is expensive, especially in an ER or inpatient setting. No matter what a person’s health status is, it is unrealistic for doctors to be around them all the time. Therefore, it is important for patients to take an active role and engage in care management between visits. From a doctor’s perspective, the point of care is moving to patient-centered, which empowers patients to make shared decisions with their doctors and allows doctors to coordinate treatment with patients when they are away from clinic.

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mHealth Workshop participants discuss the impact of mobile technologies on healthcare and health outcomes.

Further, patients, their conditions and health backgrounds vary greatly, which requires personalized care that is geared to treating an individual patient’s conditions. In order to provide this kind of individualized care, doctors often need a rich and holistic view to comprehend the patient’s journey. However, it is hard for doctors to monitor patient engagement, such as how well they adhere to medication routines in home care setting. For these reasons, it is critical to understand how mobile health device usage would enable doctors and other health professionals to access to patient information and motivate patient engagement.

Understanding the impacts of mHealth devices is important not only to doctors and patients, it is of interest to insurers, taxpayers and all patients concerned about healthcare costs because the ability to monitor patient health behavior could help them reduce the “moral hazard concern” in healthcare, and mitigate the disparities of insurance policies.

The usage of mobile health devices has other impacts on patient engagement which may further influence patient health outcomes. First, although usage of mobile device does not allow doctors to directly observe every patient health behavior, it records real-time longitudinal patient conditions and builds a database that is accessible to the patient, thereby increasing the inference of patient behavior. Further, small wearable devices enable doctors to detect some patient wellness actions, actions that are unhealthy, and environmental factors that affect health.

For example, an embedded dynamic sensor could be designed to detect cigarette smoking or air quality in a patient’s community. In addition to these mechanisms to promote patient engagement, participants at the mHealth conference also discussed different strategies to incentivize active device usage, including the freemium model (providing a product free of charge but charging for premium features and functionality), aligning the interests of different parties, providing general or real-time health recommendations, and user interface design.

Chenzhang Bao is a student at the University of Texas at Dallas majoring in information systems. He is one of several students who the South Big Data Hub supported to attend an mHealth Workshop in May. The Conference was held in Chapel Hill and sponsored by the South Big Data Hub and the National Consortium for Data Science in collaboration with the Institute for the Future..   

 

Microsoft Research looks back at a year of successful collaboration with the Big Data Hubs

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Vani Mandava of Microsoft Research (far right), with leaders of the Big Data Hubs, from left to right: Fen Zhao, NSF program coordinator; Lea Shanley, South Hub; Melissa Cragin, Midwest Hub; Rene Baston, Northeast Hub; Meredith Lee, West Hub; and Renata Rawlings-Goss, South Hub.

Microsoft Research understands that taking full advantage of big data and new data technologies requires more than developing new tools and technologies. To paraphrase Vani Mandava, director of data science for the research arm of the tech giant, it requires cross-disciplinary research that extends well beyond computer science, and collaboration among domain science experts, computing and data science specialists, and industry leaders in technology and other verticals.

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Shifting the paradigm of care via mHealth

mHealth-3By Ashley C. Griffin

The South Big Data Innovation Hub and the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), in collaboration with the Institute for the Future and 10X Collective, held a workshop that brought together a diverse body of experts to identify and prioritize research challenges in data science and IoT cyberinfrastructure.

The workshop participants thoughtfully assessed a wide array of mobile health (mhealth) applications to address health disparities and their environmental influences within the research, legal, policy, environment, and clinical settings. Within the clinical setting, participants identified shifting the point of care to the patient using mHealth technologies as a key priority.  Continue reading

Leveraging the OGC Innovation Program to Advance Big Data Spokes

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By Luis Bermudez, Executive Director, Open Geospatial Consortium Innovation Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) currently has an open program solicitation that seeks to establish more ‘Big Data Spokes’ to advance big data applications. Like the BD Hubs, the BD Spokes provide a regional coordinating role but focus on narrower topic areas, such as applications that address the acquisition and use of health data, or data science in agriculture. In addition to its topic area, Spokes are driven by three themes: 1) advancing solutions towards a grand challenge; 2) automating the big data lifecycle; and 3) improving and incentivizing access to critical data.  Continue reading

New Report Looks at Strategies for Building a Data Economy

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-27-39-pmTwo groups with a keen interest in data science –the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation and the National Consortium for Data Science—have teamed up to produce a report that examines what the Tar Heel state needs to do to be a leader in the emerging data economy.

The report, NC in the Next Tech Tsumani: Navigating the Data Economy, says North Carolina has the raw assets to build a world-class data economy, including top-tier universities and thriving business sectors in technology, life sciences and finance.  However, those assets must be nurtured through a focus on data science education, data literacy, support for data-focused startups, and a coordinated effort to present the state as a data leader.   Continue reading

Hackathon in Rocket City (Huntsville, AL) focuses on flood management

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-57-54-amWe can’t control Mother Nature, but we can use data to mitigate some of her more destructive occurrences, including floods.

That’s the premise behind a hackathon sponsored by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the city of Huntsville, AL. The hackathon, to be held Feb. 25 and 26, will give software developers, policymakers, public safety officials, business leaders, and other creative problem solvers the chance to make a difference in how communities prepare for and respond to dangerous floods.   Continue reading

South Hub Sponsors Data Science for Social Good Summer Program 2017

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By Arjun Sawhney, South Big Data Hub
SawhneyArjun@gmail.com

South Big Data Hub is partnering with Data Science for Social Good- Atlanta to bring nine graduate students from various southern states to participate in a ten-week paid internship experience. The program would place undergraduate and graduate students in multidisciplinary teams to work under the supervision of a Georgia Tech faculty mentor on a problem that comes from a local government or nonprofit partner in the Atlanta metro area. Mentors from the local data science practitioner community will provide additional guidance and support. Continue reading

Join the conversation on building data science capacity

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Participants in the Federal Data in Action Summit express their views on key data questions by moving around the room, with those on each side representing opposite ends of a spectrum and those in the middle representing the middle ground.

December Summit launched conversation—now we want your thoughts

By Tim J. Gabel, @timgabel
Executive Vice President, RTI International

I had the pleasure of attending the December 15, 2016 Federal Data in Action Summit in Washington DC. The meeting was co-hosted by a team that included the National Science Foundation, the four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs, and the Department of Homeland Security. It was a chance to spend an afternoon with an extraordinary collection of thought leaders, practitioners, and government agency representatives. The focus of the day – to “share lessons learned and best practices for building data science capacity” – is of great relevance to organizations and the U.S. economy. Continue reading

Chinese scientists get a taste of data-driven research at U.S. State Department-sponsored visit

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Chinese and American scientists take a break for a group photo during an afternoon of discussion on data analytics in environmental sciences.

Science, and the process of sharing scientific knowledge and ideas to solve problems, knows no national or political boundaries. That’s why when a group of Chinese scientists visited RENCI as guests of the South Big Data Hub, the discussion was lively, timely, and productive. Continue reading

Panel examines the role of data in public and environmental health

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Panelists and audience members participate in the South Big Data Hub roundtable on data analytics in environmental health both remotely and in person.

The South Big Data Hub Roundtable held on January 11 in Chapel Hill, NC, provided an open discussion forum with a focus on Translational Data Analytics for Environmental Health.

Ashok Krishnamurthy, PhD, moderated the discussion, which included panelists Andy May, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of civil, environmental, and geodetic engineering at The Ohio State University, Ayaz Hyder, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at Ohio State’s College of Public Health, David Peden, PhD,  a distinguished professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and Paul Kizakevich, PhD, a senior research engineer in the bioinformatics program at RTI International. Continue reading