Past Forecasts of COVID-19 Infection Rates with Wearable Device Data and CareEvolution’s Research Platform

ByLance T. Lee

Nov 2, 2022


ANN ARBOUR, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New research made possible by CareEvolution’s research platform indicates that commercially available wearable devices hold promise for monitoring and predicting population shifts in COVID-19 activity and infection rates up to to 12 days earlier than CDC data alone. This approach of using wearable devices to monitor infection rates complements existing methods of tracking viral illnesses, including medical appointments, lab test results and sewage testing by providing an early signal. changes in disease prevalence.

This data comes from DETECT, a collaborative study launched at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by Scripps Research in partnership with CareEvolution and the Rockefeller Foundation. The study uses CareEvolution’s digital clinical trial and research platform, MyDataHelps™, through which researchers collected resting heart rate and step count from wearable devices and self-reported data (e.g. , test results, symptoms and demographic information) of thousands of participants worldwide. United States.

On September 22, Lancet Digital Health published a study based on DETECT data, showing that wearable devices can identify variations in individual data, possibly before the participant experiences symptoms, providing an early indication of a viral infection. Researchers have shown that tracking changes in this sensor data can significantly improve predictions of the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 infection rates up to 12 days into the future compared to CDC data alone. .

“Passive and continuous monitoring via wearable devices can unlock a deeper understanding of early, population-level physiological responses to viruses,” says co-author Edward Ramos, Ph.D., senior scientific director at CareEvolution and co- founder of the Digital Trials Center at Scripps Research. “With the ever-increasing prevalence of fitness trackers or smartwatches, there is an opportunity not only to improve monitoring for COVID-19 infection, but also the onset of other viral respiratory illnesses.”

Compared to other data collection for viral disease tracking, such as sewage testing, sensor-based surveillance provides low-cost data that complements these traditional surveillance tactics, yielding disease-level prediction. population trends in viral infections. Integrating sensor-based data with traditional surveillance methods could be key to developing actionable insights for future predictions of COVID-19, other emerging viruses, and seasonal outbreaks.


The DETECT study was launched on March 25, 2020 and is open to any adult (≥18 years old) living in the United States who owns a Fitbit or smartwatch or fitness tracker that connects to Apple HealthKit or Google Fit . Participants join the study by downloading the MyDataHelps™ application, available on Android and iPhone operating systems. Learn more about the Detect study.

Funding for the study includes support in part from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Amazon Web Services.

About CareEvolution

CareEvolution is a health technology company headquartered in Ann Arbor. The organization has partnered with research teams across the country, including the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, the University of Michigan, the National Institutes of Health and the Scripps Research Digital Trials Center. These partners leverage MyDataHelps™ for projects such as the All of us Search program, RECOVER, PowerMom, Say Yes! COVID Test and the electronic Framingham Heart Study, with nearly 2 million mHealth participants, more than 55,000 EHRs connected, and more than 20 million kits distributed to participants across the United States.

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