Digital health-based clinical trials have grown by 29% per year in recent years. The largest category of studies focuses on cardiometabolic conditions such as heart conditions, diabetes, and stroke. They analyzed 1.783 studies voluntarily registered at the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Clinicaltrials.gov site up to 2017. The analysis, “Characteristics of Digital Health Studies Registered in ClinicalTrials.gov,” was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
What is Digital Health?
Digital health is the application of software or hardware, often using a mobile smartphone or sensor technologies to improve patient or population health and health care delivery. The Stanford-led team reports in contract to drugs and traditional medical devices, which have strict regulatory guidelines on safety and efficacy, the clinical evidence generation for digital health tools may be motivated by other elements, including adoption, utilization, and value, that may influence study design and quality. The landscape of clinical evidence underlying digital health interventions has not been well characterized. The team sought to evaluate the characteristics of digital health studies registered in ClinicalTrials.gov.
American Medical Association Introduces Digital Health Best Practices
Recently in association with this study created a Digital Health Implementation Playbook outlining critical steps, best practices, and resources to accelerate the adoption and scale of digital health solutions. Download the playbook here.
The Study Results
The Stanford-led team found a wide range of conditions—for example, they reported on 13 clinical categories—the top five included:
- Cardiometabolic—382 (21.4%).
- Mental health—216 (12.1%).
- Wellness—183 (10.2%).
- Neurology—114 (6.4%).
- Pulmonary—113 (6.3%).
Rounding out the List Were:
- Substance abuse—112 (6.3%).
- Hematology-oncology—107 (6%).
- Autoimmune—84 (4.7%).
- Infectious disease—77 (4.3%).
- Obstetrics-gynecology—63 (3.5%).
- Musculoskeletal or pain—54 (3%)
- Surgery—32 (1.8%).
- Renal—24 (1.4%)
Connie E. Chen, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
Robert A Harrington, Center for Digital Health, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
Sumbul A Desai, enter for Digital Health, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California