The future of harvesting patient generated health data

The trickiest part is getting people to keep using the devices, even six months is a challenge.
By Laura Lovett
03:32 PM
patient generated health data

As remote monitoring becomes more and more popular providers are starting discussions about how to harvest and use the incoming data. But a serious challenge lies in how to synthesize data coming in from different sources. People have preferences — you might even go so far as to say there are “Fitbit people” and “Apple Watch people.”

“What we are trying to do with these devices is collect non-episodic data. Apple watches, Fitbits, all of these devices capture it for you now,” said Ajay Mittal, associate director of IT at the American College of Cardiology. “Our top process was to harness this data that people are already using to support better outcomes.”

Mittal and the team at ACC ran a pilot study aimed at integrating non-episodic data, or data that wasn’t collected at a doctor’s appointment, into the providers system. The team then looked at whether these data points could help improve long-term outcomes.   

The pilot included ACC employees. Each of the participants could choose from four different wearable devices. Fitbit was the most popular. Participants could go into the system and register their devices. The data on their activity was stored in a secure vendor portal while the pilot lasted for a total six months. 

One of the struggles researchers found was that during this six-month period some participants stopped using the wearables. 

“Some people were turning off their devices. Why? There is no way for us to find out. 

It was somewhat sporadic,” Mittal said. “But where we did get the data it was pretty good.”

Mittal said the team was able to integrate all of the systems. In the end, Mittal and his team found out that one of the biggest challenges to harvesting data from patients remotely wasn’t the technology but the legal matters. 

“When people go to the doctor they have their blood test, cholesterol check and so forth,” Mittal said. “But people only see a physician every six to 12 months.”

And that is exactly why these non-episodic data points could be insights into patients’ overall health in the future. 

Mittal will be speaking in the session, “Harvesting Wearable Device Data,” at 11:30 a.m. March 8 in the Venetian, Palazzo B.

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Twitter: @lauralovett7
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