Digital Health

Wireless and mobile technologies provide an opportunity to connect information in the real-world via wearable sensors and, when coupled with fixed sensors embedded in the environment, produce continuous streams of data on an individual's biology, psychology, behavior and daily environment. Our goals are to

  • Enable more patient-centric health care management by designing interventions that leverage digital health — also known as mobile health (mHealth) — technologies to collect continuous health data from patients and their physical and social environment,
  • Understand preferences and motivations of people to allow them to interact with the health system on their own timeline and in their own environment, and 
  • Enhance patient-provider communication and collaborative management of health care priorities.


WearDuke logoWearDuke

WearDuke is a campus-wide precision health initiative designed to promote healthy living through student engagement with digital health wearable devices and novel learning opportunities. During the 2019-2020 academic year, students residing in one of the selected residence halls were invited to participate in the year-long pilot study that assessed student interest and feasibility to inform the launch of this initiative to the entire Duke community in the future. Students were provided with a wearable and were asked to answer weekly surveys on sleep, general health, mental health, caffeine intake and academic performance. Students also used the companion app to track sleep and activity habits. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the study was opened to the entire Duke community.

For more information, contact Susanne Haga, Ph.D.


Prompt is an interactive digital health system to test and disseminate evidence-based health solutions and improve participant engagement in clinical and observational studies. Prompt can send automated, tailored, scheduled messages to study participants via SMS, interactive voice response (IVR), OS notifications, apps or email. It is optimized for bidirectional, algorithm-driven interactions between users and study team members. These algorithms can include data received by participants via survey or requested as part of an interaction; environmental information like weather and location; and information provided by care providers and registered dietitians. Prompt integrates components useful for research participants, primary care providers, ancillary care providers, and research and clinical study staff. By decreasing staff burden, enhancing protocol fidelity, and improving participant retention, Prompt saves time and resources. Using the mobile phone as the hub, Prompt can extend the ability of clinicians and researchers to design and test innovative behavioral interventions and improve participant engagement in clinical or observational longitudinal panel studies.  

For more information, contact: Duke Global Digital Health Science Center


The Interactive Obesity Treatment Approach (iOTA) combines the rigor of a personalized, evidence-based weight loss approach with the ease of simple technology. Developed in 2007 and tested over the thirteen years in various populations, iOTA is an effective and highly scalable weight loss program. In iOTA, individuals take a short survey on current nutrition, lifestyle and physical activity habits. An algorithm is applied to these data, and a set of four discrete, personally tailored goals are assigned based on a calculation of need, readiness and self-efficacy. Individuals are prompted on a regular basis (daily or weekly) to self-monitor these goals via text message or automated phone calls. Participants are sent immediate automated feedback on their progress over time after they self-monitor. Goals change every eight weeks to promote a holistic lifestyle change over time and to ensure novelty and prevent habituation to self-monitoring. iOTA has been adapted for use in a wide range of medically vulnerable populations both domestically and abroad, and is an effective, scalable public health approach to both prevent weight gain and promote weight loss.

For more information, contact Duke Global Digital Health Science Center


The CovIdentify study is investigating whether smartphone and smartwatch data could determine whether or not participants have COVID-19. Our team of Duke University doctors and scientists are investigating whether the data from your smartphone and smartwatch can help determine whether or not you have a COVID-19 infection, and how severe the infection is expected to get. All we ask is that you answer two simple questions each day for up to 12 months. We will explore whether there is a relationship with your smartphone and smartwatch data.

For more information, contact Ryan J. Shaw, Ph.D., RN, or Jessilyn Dunn, Ph.D.

From Episodic to Real-Time Care in Diabetes Self-Management

This study uses mobile health technologies to identify strategies that help patients and health professionals use patient-generated data to manage and overcome challenges with diabetes. Our team uses novel software to obtain, aggregate, analyze and visualize data that is presented back to clinicians and patients in real-time and longitudinally. Over six months, participants use a phone-tethered glucometer, cellular scale and wrist-worn accelerometer and respond to bi-weekly text message surveys on medication adherence.

For more information, contact Ryan J. Shaw, Ph.D., RN

Log2Lose: A novel IT Weight Loss Solution to Provide Variable-Ratio Rewards in Real-Time

This study uses automated algorithms to analyze dietary self-monitoring and interim weight loss data from mobile technologies to provide real-time reinforcement using variable-ratio financial incentives. In this study, obese community outpatients participate in a 24-week weight loss program delivered via biweekly group classes. We developed an innovative information technology (IT) solution that collates dietary self-monitoring data via diet apps and weight data from cellular scales. Algorithms classify participants as achieving adequate or inadequate dietary self-monitoring and weight loss to earn intermittent rewards of varying value in real-time. If effective, this approach could reduce the prevalence, adverse outcomes and costs of obesity for millions of Americans.

For more information, contact Ryan J. Shaw, Ph.D., RN


Duke Health Innovation Lab

A 20,000 square foot simulated hospital and clinic that serves as an interdisciplinary space to prototype and test innovations in technology and care delivery. By providing an infrastructure and entrepreneurial environment, Duke develops and tests innovative scholarship and transformative ideas developed by faculty, staff, students and alumni. 

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Human Physiology Testing Core

Offers wearable physical activity monitoring services as well as other clinical procedures related to the biochemical and physical functions of the human body.

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Mobile App Gateway

Sponsored by Duke's CTSI, the Mobile App Gateway is the entry point for support of digital health and mobile app research and development throughout Duke Health and Duke University. The Gateway offers a variety of services to support projects from concept through deployment, available to Duke faculty, staff and students.

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Providing health coaching for Balanced Energy Cycling Program (BECP) and post-CR projects.

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Collaborator for the validation of a new earbud sensor for energy expenditure, heart rate and VO2max.

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Collaborator for the development of an osteoarthritis patient-education app.

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