Digital Health Week Recap

Digital Health Week Recap

by: Katie D. McMillan, MPH

September 17- 20th, The Mobile App Gateway (MAG) hosted our first Digital Health Week! With six events over four days we covered a robust variety of topics related to digital health. The field is constantly evolving and expanding and we were thrilled to do a big back-to-school event to infuse participants with information, connect the community, and spark ideas new ideas!


Exploring Academic Entrepreneurship

The MAG team was setting up our first session, Exploring Academic Entrepreneurship when at 8am all of our phones flashed a tornado warning message from the National Weather Service. We thought it would clear by our 8:30am start, but alas another one came through and we had to postpone the event. The upside? We were able to give bagels to hungry medical students passing through the event space after a cancelled exam! With 100 sign ups, this event was going to be popular! We have rescheduled for March 2019. Check our website/ Twitter/ Listserv for details as it gets closer! 


Duke Health Tech Entrepreneurs

What’s more start-upy than pizza? We hosted Howie Rhee from Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Fuqua School of Business to share some awesome health technology companies founded by Duke alumni. Howie blew us all away with 18 different companies! 


One awesome example? AliveCor, founded by a Duke Medical School alum, has a device and application that will turn any smartphone into a clinical-quality electrocardiogram (ECG) recorder. They have raised $43.5 million to date (you read that right) and are one of the leaders in remote monitoring of patients. 

Interested in starting your own company? Howie and Duke I&E are available to brainstorm.


Morning: Engineering Health

At 9:00am the Engineering Health session was hosted at the Duke Co-Lab. The Co-Lab is an awesome place filled with 3D printers, laser cutters, hand tools, computers, and super smart students. Our friends Steven Espinosa and Jordan Hashemi explained their research using smart phones to screen for autism and recognize facial patterns to identify potentially abnormal behavior. The possibility for outreach to patients in incredible – over 1,000 participants nationally participated in the study and if brought to scale tools like this could improve our use of clinician resources to reach the patients that need them the most. 


Speaking of patients…the Duke ENABLE chapter presented immediately after. ENABLE connects children and adults in need of prosthetic limbs with student engineers who create 3D printed arms, legs, and tools. From a baker who needed an arm to hold certain cake decorating tools, to a four year old who’s new arm could hold a light saber the stories were heartwarming. 

Really loved seeing the prosthetics and hearing the stories of the recipients!! Such a cool group for students.
— Attendee

Afternoon: IOT: The Present, The Future and What You Need to Know

Have you heard of the internet of things (IOT for those in the know)? The world of connected devices is expanding every minute with the forecast of 3-4 connected devices per person on the internet by 2020. Do you already have a smart speaker like an Alexa, a cell phone, and a home security system like the Ring? You are well on your way to meeting the prediction! With all of these new things added to the network, security should be on everyone’s mind, especially with connected devices used for healthcare. The Information Security Office team shared what’s under the hood of IOT devices, how to hack your own Amazon button to send texts, and things to consider to protect data. 


Lunch: Using Behavioral Health Science to Drive Digital Health Engagement and Outcomes


In addition to the Duke Flu Shot blitz, we kept health at the top of everyone’s mind! Aline Holzwarth from the Duke Center for Advanced Hindsight and Nirmish Shah, MD, Hematologist and mobile app guru gave engaging presentations on Behavioral Science. This was one of our most popular events – standing room only! The Duke Research Blog covered the highlights of the talk. Our favorite takeaway? That asking teens to take a selfie video of taking the medications lead to improved med adherence, and that girls were much chattier than boys in their videos with around a minute longer footage! Just goes to show that interventions work differently with different populations of patients. 

Happy Hour: Digital Health Future Directions

After all of that running around campus to events (our workday step counts have never been higher) it was time for a beverage and some snacks. We hosted our happy hour and Digital Health Future Directions in the beautiful School of Nursing Atrium. With some pino grigio in hand, we heard from Dr. Dori Steinberg and Dr. Neil Ray on their use of the Medable platform to conduct direct to patient research using mobile. Dori’s team in the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center is testing out consenting patients to weight loss studies with an integrated approach to using text messages to dole out encouragement and collect data. Neil’s team in the Duke Anesthesia department are investigating post-operative pain levels and opioid usage which will inform how we manage pain for patients in the future! 

So what’s in store for the future of digital at Duke Health? David Claxton painted the vision of the Duke Health Digital Strategy Office. The new DSO team is focused on a human-centered design approach, letting the voice of the patient and the clinician guide the introduction of new technologies. The team is excited about a more personalized patient app experience, with the ability to prescribe helpful apps to patients and lead to improved understanding of health between visits in the clinic. There are incredible opportunities and strategies at play to launch Duke Health as the top thought leader in digital patient engagement. 

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We wrapped up with an announcement from one our community partners about the 2018 DHIT Summit. If you loved Digital Health Week be sure to sign up for this event on November 14— national leaders in healthcare will be coming to Durham discussing all things #digitalhealth. Register here!

Many many thanks to all of you who came to our events, to our speakers who shared their time and expertise, and to our team for all of the planning and execution. Want to attend future events? Follow us on Twitter @DukeMobileApps and check out our events page

We are so fortunate in the Triangle to have healthcare leaders, like Duke, who are shaping the digital health conversation for patients, providers, and students. This week was important to bring together different perspectives, shaping the future of healthcare in North Carolina and around the world.
— Keith Duprey
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