Digital health integration platform Validic and RTI International have teamed up to optimise consumer wearable and health sensor data for clinical research.

Through the collaboration, Validic and RTI will work together to better understand how teenagers’ health, social experience, genetic profile and living situation affect their health and behaviour later in life.

Once Validic validates and delivers patient-recorded data from wearable devices like Fitbit, RTI will leverage the information – and other health behaviours – for research on health and wellness.

Consumer wearable devices and the data associated with them are also getting significant attention within research communities. The number of clinical trials using wearable devices for data collection has grown to more than 129 trials, says RTI.

Beyond providing wearers their daily step-count, these popular devices offer researchers a new way to collect data including level of physical activity, sleep, heart rate and other health indicators. RTI and Validic will work to ensure this data is optimised for rigorous clinical health research.

“Relatively little is known about the validity and reliability of consumer devices and there has not been much work done to pair large samples of these data with other, more traditional sources, like survey responses and clinical records,” said Senior Clinical Informaticist at RTI, Robert Furberg.

“We’re in an unusually good position to help researchers access, appreciate and analyse the output from this new generation of data collection instruments,” continued Furberg.

The Validic platform enables personal health information from wearable trackers, smartphone applications and in-home clinical devices to be securely captured, standardised and delivered to clients’ systems.

By streamlining access to nearly 400 different connected devices – such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Omron, Withings, MyFitnessPal – Validic hopes to help the industry shift from managing symptoms to better diagnosing and treating conditions.

“The nature of chronic disease is often intrinsically related to lifestyle decisions,” said CEO and Co-Founder of Validic, Drew Schiller.

“Real-time, real-world data that can be captured in patients’ daily lives is a powerful tool to optimise clinical research and care delivery. Effective interoperability is key to having valid data captured in a consistent manner that will allow it to be a reliable part of both prevention and treatment.”

“We are excited to have RTI join our client ecosystem along with leading hospitals, health systems, pharma, wellness organisations and healthcare technology companies,” concluded Schiller.

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