Mobile health data plays role in digital biomarkers

Relevant data plays a critical role in digital biomarkers, and mobile devices collecting such information are a valuable contributor to the technology.

Digital biomarkers, which are defined as consumer-generated physiological and behavioral measures collected via connected tools, play a role in investigating and predicting health outcomes, according to a new Rock Health report.

"Digital biomarkers represent an opportunity to capture clinically meaningful, objective data in a cost-effective manner," the report's authors say. "In healthcare, big data is only valuable when paired with a strong body of clinical evidence. Digital biomarkers are an opportunity to translate new data sources into informative, actionable insights."

The increasing amount of data culled through mHealth apps and devices, such as smartphones and wristband monitors, is valuable in terms of greater knowledge and attaining greater insight into a person's health.

The authors add that smartphones now are "the access point" to consumers, noting that 30 percent of U.S. smartphone owners use at least one health app.

The integration of biomarkers and clinical data within universal predictive tools is the foundation of mHealth apps used for early suicide prevention among people suffering from psychiatric illness. It's also allowing researchers to build a better panel of predictive biomarkers, researchers note.

The Rock Health report also finds that the digital footprint consumers leave when they engage with the Internet provides novel data that can be leveraged for healthcare purposes.

"As other types of consumer data continue to be collected digitally ... the industry has the opportunity to leverage the resulting data to create more holistic pictures of an individual and tailor care plans accordingly," the authors say.

For more information:
- read the Rock Health report