Noah B, et al. Digital Medicine. 2017;doi:10.1038/s41746-017-0002-4.

February 02, 2018
1 min read

Clinical effectiveness of wearable biosensors remains unclear


Noah B, et al. Digital Medicine. 2017;doi:10.1038/s41746-017-0002-4.

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Brennan M.R. Spiegel
Brennan M.R. Spiegel


The effectiveness of wearable biosensors in improving clinical outcomes for patients remains unclear due to lack of evidence, according to a report published in Digital Medicine, a new journal covering digital health research

Brennan M.R. Spiegel, MD, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai, and colleagues wrote that while such devices have become much more popular, there are not enough data or enough studies available to determine if they are effective in improving clinical outcomes in areas like BMI and blood pressure.

“We were only able to find 27 studies in the whole history of combined medical literature where there was a properly conducted, randomized controlled trial of a wearable system with a feedback loop back to the patients and the provider, and clinically relevant outcomes were monitored,” Spiegel told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.

The investigators reviewed more than 4,300 articles published between January 2000 and October 2016. Of the 27 studies that met their criteria, they identified just 16 as “high-quality studies.”

In a meta-analysis of the data, the Spiegel and colleagues did not find a statistically significant impact of remote patient monitoring on any of six reported clinical outcomes, which included BMI, weight, waist circumference, body fat percentage, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The studies examined devices like activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, electronic scales and others.

The investigators wrote that more research is needed to determine what kind of patients would benefit most from using wearable biosensors.

“When we crunched all the numbers we did not find a statistically significant benefit of remote patient monitoring on clinically relevant outcomes,” Spiegel said. “Obviously there’s some caveat to that, because some studies are positive, and many are negative. So, it’s not that remote patient monitoring will not work or does not work, but it does mean that the evidence to date is still limited and generally negative.”– by Alex Young

Disclosures: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.