I’m with the Band
A sensor listens to the guts of individuals recovering from abdominal surgery, while a computer constantly monitors the sensor’s signal and helps determine when a patient is able to eat.
Patients link Apple’s free Health app to their Cedars-Sinai electronic medical record to personalize the health-tracking experience and, if they choose, contribute data to research projects.
Fit for Chemo
Potential chemotherapy patients strap on Fitbits, which may help physicians determine whether their bodies are strong enough to handle the treatment, with the devices offering objective data on patient functionality.
The Personal KinetiGraph tracks the movements of Parkinson’s patients, showing how their symptoms fluctuate and respond to medication throughout the day, and in the future may allow physicians and patients to refine treatment plans.
Walk the Walk
Patients wear Fitbits after one of seven types of major surgery to quantify ambulation and to see whether the measurements correlate to length of hospital stay or a need for additional rehabilitation, since the ability to walk after surgery is key to determining when a patient can leave the hospital.
A new study tests whether information from a Fitbit can predict frailty in those with liver cirrhosis who are on the transplant list. If successful, the information could be used to assist physicians in determining the readiness for organ transplant by how frail or hardy a patient is.
A biosensor measures motion in those treated with a particular arthritis medication. The ankle-mounted apparatus provides real-time data on steps taken, velocity, and total active time to help assess the drug’s effectiveness.
Wearable technologies such as smart watches and fitness-tracking bands are ubiquitous in the era of the “quantified self.” Measuring personal, real-time data like steps, heart rate, and sleep efficiency has opened doors to helping us quit smoking, monitor heart health, and even diagnose cancer. It also has added a set of handy tools for precision medicine.
“Ninety percent of a diagnosis comes from hearing patients’ stories: their experience and what their bodies are telling us,” says Brennan Spiegel, MD, director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai. “We can use very inexpensive and widely available tools to precisely quantify that information and define each patient’s story.”
Cedars-Sinai investigators and doctors are integrating these devices into their work to better treat patients and help them take control of their health.
Croatian-born American inventor Nikola Tesla left many gifts to the future, including the idea of combining computation and telephony — the source of today’s mobile and wearable devices. His ideas were put forward as early as 1893 and were considered the ramblings of a “mad scientist,” but wearables are rapidly becoming integrated into daily 21st century life.