discoveries magazine

Innovation 1: The Digital Doctor

Chances are, you will spend 99.9 percent of your hours on Earth somewhere other than a doctor's office. When you do visit, a lot of important health information may not be captured.

The solution could be wearable biosensors like Fitbit and Apple Watch. The health system of the future will create an e-hub for remote digital monitoring of patients," says Brennan Spiegel, MD, Cedars-Sinai's director of Health Services Research.

The e-hub could collect data from patients' wearable devices so a corps of digitalists"—clinicians well-versed in medicine and technology—can monitor the biometrics. If a patient's health indicators go sideways, the digitalists could intervene to recommend home treatment or a doctor visit.

While Spiegel himself has performed research showing that, in medical studies, wearable monitors alone rarely make patients healthier, he points to additional evidence indicating that biosensors boost wellness when paired with an intervention like behavioral coaching.

The technology is there but figuring out how to use it to improve patient outcomes is more of a behavioral and social science," says Spiegel, whose work is supported by the Marc and Sheri Rapaport Fund for Digital Health Sciences and Precision Health. We need to work collaboratively with patients to figure out how best to integrate health technology with the very human experience of being a patient."

Cedars-Sinai also is leveraging the new Apple Health app that helps people aggregate their official medical records with their own individually generated data, creating a holistic view of their health.