A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Health in a Virtual World

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Healthcare innovation goes digital.

The digital marketplace is overflowing with wearables, apps, and other tools that purport to help consumers monitor and improve their health. But experts caution these technologies are often developed without input from doctors, scientists, or patients; lack efficacy data and adequate privacy and other protections; and can worsen health care disparities.

Enter the new Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health, a research incubator for practical digital health tools that patients, health care providers, and populations actually need. The center, launched in July, will also offer hands-on training for students, residents, and fellows. The Center for Digital Health builds on the Emergency Digital Health Innovation program, which brought together researchers
from Brown and Lifespan hospitals to develop and study digital innovations in emergency medicine.

The new center broadens that scope to all aspects of health, focusing on equity and vulnerable populations. Its ultimate goal, according to founding director Megan Ranney RES’08 F’10 MPH’10, MD, The Warren Alpert Foundation Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, is to be able to rapidly scale up digital tools and treatments.

“We will help people from across our hospital and university campuses to go from idea to impact quickly, efficiently, and ethically,” she says.

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