NIH Seeks Your Input: Data Collection Best Practices for Devices and Wearables

In Big Data by Shelly KramerLeave a Comment

Type “wearable health tech” into a search engine and you’ll see seemingly endless lists of smart watches, devices, and apps designed to help manage your health and fitness. That’s a reflection of the skyrocketing ownership of wearables and mobile devices and our enthusiasm to use them to monitor and, hopefully improve, our well being. Now U.S medical researchers are looking to plug in to the health tech phenomenon by collecting data from our smart devices—and they need your help to figure out the best way to do it. If you’re a managed service provider serving the healthcare space, or immersed in the health technology world, or if this is interesting in any way to you, there’s a deadline of July 24th to submit your feedback. Here’s more information on that.

The initiative from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stems from the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) unveiled by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union Address in January. The PMI has been created with the aim of creating a national research cohort study of more than one million Americans to improve the understanding of health and disease. Specifically, the program has the aim of generating scientific evidence to “move the concept of precision medicine into clinical practice.” According to a follow up article in The New England Journal of Medicine and Science, “the initiative taps into converging trends of increased connectivity, through social media and mobile devices, and Americans’ growing desire to be active partners in medical research.”

THE PMI was launched in June, with the first post on the NHI Precision Medicine Initiative Feedback Blog. The article set out the critical questions that the research would address and invited comments and questions on the issues raised. The second and most recent post raises questions and seeks feedback on so called mHealth, a term which describes the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices.

Interested in Wearables for Health Monitoring and Want to Participate?

The PMI is considering the viability of using smartphone and wireless technology to collect data from their cohort of volunteers. They are asking for input from the public on the use of technology for this purpose, including some specific considerations. What they want to know includes the following:

  • How willing are interested participants in carrying their devices sufficiently to allow researchers to assess their health and activities?
  • How willing would participants without smart devices be to upgrade (at no cost).
  • How frequently people will be prepared to allow researchers to collect data without inconvenience?
  • The type and frequency of feedback that’s derived as part of this study that participants would like to receive from researchers.
  • Suggestions on other ways to collect information from smart devices.

Researchers are also interested in hearing from the tech community on what other ways might exist to collect data remotely, beyond smartphones and connected wearables. If you or your clients are working in this space and/or have ideas that are ready to share, they’d love to hear from you.

Google and Apple have already been exploring the concept of using mobile tools to collect data for clinical research purposes. It’s interesting to see such a large stakeholder, and a government agency at that, doing the same. What is surprising though, is to see that none of the questions promoted by the PMI concern privacy and the security of data. Some of the early comments have already addressed that issue and I think more are likely to follow—especially since this relates to health and data that is, by its very nature, something that people wish to keep private.

This is an important issue for MSPs who serve the mobility space, especially those focused on healthcare, as well as for mobile service providers, health researchers, and the public. If you have any thoughts on the PMI mHealth proposals you can add your comments at the NHI Feedback Blog. Please also share this call for public input with colleagues and clients who you think may have an interest in either participating or sharing.

For those of us in the tech space, being a part of initiatives like this and sharing our thoughts and feedback can go a long way toward developing what is right now the wild, wild west of health tech. My team and I think that is kind of exciting—hopefully, you will as well.

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.

Photo Credit: toddjesperson via Compfight cc

This article was originally seen on V3 Broadsuite blog.

Shelly Kramer

Shelly Kramer is a 20+ year marketing veteran and CEO of V3 Broadsuite, a marketing consultancy, and the President of Broadsuite Media Group. She’s a business strategist focused on B2B digital transformation, and delivering integrated marketing solutions for clients. She’s an expert at omnichannel marketing, content strategy and execution, connecting social media to business initiatives, and helping clients leverage the web for growth and profitability.