LA JOLLA, Calif. – Mobile health technologies can accurately measure and track cardiovascular risk factors, according to a recent study by researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute.
The study used digital activity trackers, sleep monitors, electronic blood pressure devices and other devices to assess cardiovascular risk factors outside of the clinical setting, along with demographics, medication adherence and stress levels.
“The emergence of mobile health technologies offer the new ability to track both traditional cardiovascular risk factors and other factors that increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease at home and at high sampling rates,” said Brian Modena, first author of a paper on the study that was published recently in the journal Hypertension. “Identifying new ways of monitoring cardiovascular risk factors is critical to reducing the burden of this disease and strains on healthcare systems across the globe.”
The study found that measurements from the mobile devices closely matched national averages or prior studies performed in very controlled clinical settings, supporting their accuracy and reliability, Modena said.
The study was conducted in collaboration with consumer electronics provider Withings, which identified eligible study participants through a company database of owners of Withings health tracking devices. A total of 255 individuals were enrolled and asked to measure blood pressure, heart rate, pulse wave velocity and weight two days a week for 17 weeks. All measurements were transmitted wirelessly through a smartphone app to a secure database.
This was also the first study to successfully assess and track pulse wave velocity, an indicator of cardiovascular risk, outside of a controlled clinical setting using new smart weight scales.
“With high adherence, satisfaction and participant engagement, this proof-of-concept study required minimal study personnel and no participant training, thereby making it likely scalable to much larger populations,” said Steven Steinhubl, director of digital medicine at the Scripps Translational Science Institute and senior author on the study, in a statement.