New health tracking devices are being released at an extremely fast rate and there are countless one’s on the market, but this one claims to be different. The wristband by Google X won’t be marketed as a consumer product which would suggest additional robustness over commercially available wristbands that can be picked up at any department store. Instead, the device is intended for use in research and disease prevention.
Clinical trials industry is bound by extensive laws and regulations pertaining to data security and patient privacy. Data collection devices also need to provide accurate results and must be validated sufficiently prior to use in a study to ensure this is the case. We have tested a health tracking wristband previously (brand to remain anonymous) where we were not satisfied with the results as it recognized rhythmical typing activity as steps taken during the day. Needless to say, data from such a device would be misleading and inclusion of this device was not further considered for integration with an electronic patient diary (ePRO).
In any case, data from health trackers is most meaningful when coupled with patient diaries that provide the context for the incoming data. For example, extensive rises in blood pressure or heart beat can be detected and followed up on by asking the patient what they are doing at that moment. There are very different health outcomes if this is the outcome of strenuous exercise versus a stressful event.
We are looking forward to an opportunity to test this device and see how it measures up against what is already out there. The industry is yearning for a reliable device to continuously track patient health data alongside patient diaries and there is a sizable opportunity if the Google X device satisfies the rigorous requirements of clinical trials.