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Framingham Heart Study Connects to Digital Health Device Utility

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sociodemographic and health-associated factors may affect the use of digital health devices. The findings were published in NPJ Digital Medicine.

Researchers followed a cohort in the ongoing and long-running Framingham Heart Study. They used a smartwatch, blood pressure cuff, and smartphone app to collect data on heart rate and step count; as sociodemographic information.

The researchers found that participants over age 55 used each smartwatch more frequently than younger participants during the one-year follow-up period. Individuals with higher levels of education were more likely to complete app surveys and engage in other digital health behaviors, such as using a smartwatch. In addition, lower scores on depression scales correlated with lower smartwatch use by older adults. These findings may inform future clinical trials and help identify subgroups that could benefit from additional support for long-term digital health device use.

The study's authors said that their research helped them to investigate several factors. A large focus on particular chronic conditions was a powerful advantage, as was the long follow-up period and lack of financial incentives for enrolling patients.

As mankind progresses, so does the technology it creates. Digital health tools transform clinical care delivery and optimize clinical research — connecting patients, providers, and researchers alike.