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Duke to Use mHealth Wearables to Help Freshmen Improve Health

Researchers at Duke University are intending to provide freshmen with smartwatches as part of their three-year mHealth program in order for the students to better their health and wellness.

Set of Smart Watches

Next year Duke University plans to equip newly admitted freshmen with a smartwatch in a mHealth program in an attempt to improve student health outcomes.
Developed by Geoff Ginsburg, a professor of medicine, and Susanne Haga, an associate professor of medicine, both with Duke’s Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine, the wearDuke program will look into new students’ sleep and activities using the smartwatch.
“We will initially be focusing on sleep because sleep is very well documented (as something) college students don’t get enough of,” Haga said in a story supplied by the university. “And it’s important to health, mental well-being and academic performance.”
For a very long time, Duke has been in the front of mHealth and connected health innovation. Apple hired in 2016 Dr Ricky, Duke University’s Director of Mobile Strategy and a famous speaker on the mHealth conference circuit, to be their Clinical Health and Informatics Lead. He has previously partnered with Apple on many HealthKit and ResearchKit studies.
In recent times, Duke University’s Clinical Research Institute collaborated with Cerner in order to develop an app that would help doctors determine whether their patients were at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
For the three-year program, Ginsburg and Haga are opting from wearables developed by Fitbit, Garmin, Apple and Polar. In the first year of the program, they will be working on a companion mHealth app that will be able to provide the students with the ability to track their own health and answer surveys.
For the second year, Ginsburg and Haga have planned to further the program by including personalized health and wellness recommendations like advice for getting more sleep or ways to reduce stress. “Hopefully we’ll be able to sustain that,” Haga added. “We would ideally, with support, be able to continue to offer this as long as students are receptive and interested in it.”
This new program has found Duke University amongst the growing number of institutions, healthcare providers and health plans included, which are seeking to monitor health and wellness.

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