New technology for clinical trials: improving the outcomes.

Wearable devices will grow to $25 billion by 2019 and their prices are decreasing. (1)  The applications that these technologies can provide to health measures and follow-up are enormous.

We are used to seeing the applications that it has in the sport, but not in the field of research and health. However, as this article will explain, these technologies can have an impact on research. 

How is the integration of wearable data revolutionizing research?

Now data collection methods can be classified as either active or passive ().

  1. Active data collection means a self-reported outcome, this data can be collected by a computer or  App smartphone.
  2. Passive data  (heart rate, motion detection, sound or light sensor, number of calls sent, duration of calls, etc.) are collected via background tasks.

Some behaviors or symptoms can be objectified and quantified by computer tools, constituting an e-semiotics  These new ways of collecting data offer objective information for the measurement of health and the progress of the symptoms.

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What are the benefits that wearable devices and data analytics can provide to research?

High-quality data analysis and prediction algorithms are required to accurately make sense of wearable data. Many studies since 2001 have used machine learning algorithms such as regression, support vector machines and neural networks to measure and do the follow-up of the symptoms. (3)

Moreover, this study concludes that:  “to gather evidence quickly, sensors could be added to applicable clinical trials funded by the National Institute of Health so that rapid comparisons can be made between sensing data and conventional tools for monitoring and outcome measurements”

In conclusion, wearable data paired with questionnaires, serving as an input to machine learning or deep learning algorithms, can offer an accurate way to measure health This new knowledge that these models provide, can be used, for example, to accurately measure the secondary effect of drugs on the participants in clinical trials.


(1). Koytcheva, M. (n.d.). Wearables Market to Be Worth $25 Billion by 2019. Retrieved from

(2). Bhugra D, Tasman A, Pathare S, Priebe S, Smith S, Torous J, et al. The WPA-lancet psychiatry commission on the future of psychiatryLancet Psychiatry (2017) 4(10):775–818.10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30333-4

(3). Dobkin, B. H., & Dorsch, A. (2011). The promise of mHealth: daily activity monitoring and outcome assessments by wearable sensors. Neurorehabilitation and neural repair25(9), 788-98.

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