Johanna Ernst

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10,000 steps; so what? Are wearable technologies the future of clinical trials?

Wearable technologies such as activity trackers have the potential to speed up the evaluation of medical treatments and reduce the costs associated with their development. Supporters of the use of wearable technologies in clinical trial monitoring argue, that the access to continuous, objective data may allow for a faster, more detailed understanding of the impact of a treatment even in situations that are currently difficult to assess (rigidity in Parkinson’s patients). There is also however an appreciation of the challenges associated with the use of unregulated devices including, amongst others, reliability, interchangeability and data security. Even if the latter challenges were overcome, there is a need to understand how to best utilise data, such as step counts or energy expenditure, in a meaningful manner. This session aims to assess the current use of general wellness tools within clinical trials, potential benefits and limitations of their use as well as the role that ‘deep medicine’ can play to overcome these limitations.

Johanna Ernst is a DPhil student at the University of Oxford working in affilitation with the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and the George Institute for Global Health, where she is involved with the center’s Program on Deep Medicine. As part of her research, Johanna explores the use of wearable technologies for heart failure risk-stratification. She previously worked as a visiting researcher at Misfit Inc., a world-leading wearable technology developer, where she investigated the use of commercially available physical activity monitors for clinical trial monitoring.

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