Outcome measures based on digital health technology sensor data:data- and patient-centric approaches
Updated: May 18, 2022
Digital health technology tools (DHTT) are technologies such as apps, smartphones, and wearables that remotely acquire health-related information from individuals. They have the potential advantages of objectivity and sensitivity of measurement, richness of high-frequency sensor data, and opportunity for passive collection of health-related data. Thus, DHTTs promise to provide patient phenotyping at an order of granularity several times greater than is possible with traditional clinical research tools. While the conceptual development of novel DHTTs is keeping pace with technological and analytical advancements, an as yet unaddressed gap is how to develop robust and meaningful outcome measures based on sensor data. Here, we describe two roadmaps which were developed to generate outcome measures based on DHTT data: one using a data-centric approach and the second a patient-centric approach. The data-centric approach to develop digital outcome measures summarizes those sensor features maximally sensitive to the concept of interest, exemplified with the quantification of disease progression. The patient-centric approach summarizes those sensor features that are optimally relevant to patients’ functioning in everyday life. Both roadmaps are exemplified for use in tracking disease progression in observational and clinical interventional studies, and with a DHTT designed to evaluate motor symptom severity and symptom experience in Parkinson’s disease. Use cases other than disease progression (e.g., case-finding) are considered summarily. DHTT research requires methods to summarize sensor data into meaningful outcome measures. It is hoped that the concepts outlined here will encourage a scientific discourse and eventual consensus on the creation of novel digital outcome measures for both basic clinical research and clinical drug development.