Building Software to Aggregate Wearable Data
Consumer-facing health tools have revolutionized the way people access care. Patients can track, measure, and quantify their health on the go or in the comfort of their own home. But how can researchers and practitioners capitalize on this growing wealth of health data to develop smarter interventions for the general public?
Harnessing an emerging data source
Activity tracking technologies, such as BodyMedia, FitBit, and the Apple Watch, provide sophisticated tools that measure wearers’ activity, sleep, and heartrate. New additions like wireless glucometers, ECG monitors, blood pressure monitors, and medication adherence reminders provide even more opportunities for practitioners to learn about and provide extra support to their patients.
However, the diversity of wearables poses a data collection challenge. Patients might use different wearables based on their mood or preference, and there could also be differences from patient to patient in their wearable choice. To develop an accurate picture of their patients’ health, practitioners need a way to aggregate the data from multiple sources into one centralized location.
Smart data collection activates wearable potential
Wearable devices have incredible potential to improve health outcomes, especially if the data they contain can be properly collected, aggregated, analyzed, and acted upon. So HITLAB decided to create a software that could aggregate and analyze data from different wearable devices, called Climb.
Climb collects and interprets data from disparate wearable health devices. The software integrates and displays data from multiple devices through a shared application interface. Data is fed into an automated, cloud-based system that allows physicians, caretakers, and care managers to review and act on this wealth of information.
Climb leads the research evidence base for consumer-facing health tools
There is a lack of evidence demonstrating the impact of consumer-facing health tools on health outcomes. Even less evidence exists to demonstrate the power of harnessing aggregate data from multiple tools. However, digital health has much to gain by further investigating consumer-facing innovations and the utilization of wearable technologies. Climb is just one example of how smart technology design can help build an evidence base to demonstrate the impact of technological devices on health outcomes.
Climb data insights can reduce healthcare costs in brand new ways
As healthcare providers and insurers look for ways to reduce costs, patient monitoring can be an effective and attractive solution. But without a way to aggregate and analyze data from the many wearable options on the market, understanding the utility of these devices has been limited.
Health data collection has, until this point, primarily been at the discretion of the physician. Worse, collection often requires manual input from the care team and lacks central storage or integration across systems. While this is due in part to the inability of most major EHRs to integrate or collect data from consumer-based sources, it can and should be possible to develop integrative and innovative data collection methods. Climb simplifies data collection and analysis, improves automation and accessibility, and allows practitioners to capitalize on the wealth of data that wearable technologies provide.
Moving the field forward
Smart approaches like Climb feel an emerging need for data integration and analysis across consumer facing and established health system technologies. The dissemination of information from intelligent solutions like climb have the potential to dramatically improve clinical efficiency, and, more importantly, improve a patient’s experience with their care.