Stanford Study: Wearables show promise for managing health

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A paper published on January 12th (free download) by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine outlines the results of a study with 43 participants using wearable and portable biosensors to record heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, and physical activity.

Several interesting findings:

  • The devices use by the participants were the Basis Peak Watch (which has unfortunately been recalled and discontinued by Intel) and portable SpO2 measurement devices from Scanadu, iHealth-finger and Massimo). Then comparing measurements from these devices to a Welch-Allyn vital signs monitor – the wearable/portable devices were found to be generally accurate.
  • Airplane flight can have a significant physiological impact on SpO2.
  • One of the participants was able to identify a change in his physiological state based on his biometric measurements that led to the early diagnosis of Lyme disease.

The Basis B1 and Peak devices used in the study were more robust and expensive (SRP of $200) wearables and were being positioning as a devices that were validated for accuracy and could be used for clinical applications. Intel – that acquired Basis – was hoping these products would be a pillar in their digital health efforts. Many researchers and users were very disappointed by the news of the recall and discontinuation of the Peak. It will be interesting to see who steps up with a medical-grade devices that can be trusted for use in clinical research and applications. It looks like Philips, a long-time supplier of medical monitoring and wearable actigraphy devices could well emerge as a leading player. They recently sponsored the Philips Wearable & Chronic Care Challenge in Boston – video here.