Seth Martin, MD: Translating Evidence From Digital Health Innovations

June 27, 2022
Connor Iapoce

Connor Iapoce is an associate editor for HCPLive and joined the MJH Life Sciences team in April 2021. He graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. He enjoys listening to records, going to concerts, and playing with his cat Squish. You can reach him at ciapoce@mjhlifesciences.com.

Dr. Martin explores the explosion of new consumer technologies and how to close the gap in disparities between data collection and using the data in practice.

A surge of new technologies has led the way in innovation within the fields of cardiology and diabetes, as consumers are able to integrate technologies and take a more active role in their healthcare.

In an interview with HCPLive, Seth Martin, MD, Johns Hopkins University, discussed both the patient side and clinician side of digital health and the need to close the disparity gap in translation of evidence from one to the other.

Martin presented on this topic at the 6th Annual Heart in Diabetes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As a multifactorial issue, Martin noted that he does not believe technology will solve everything, but technology is a way to provide improved access to the world of medicine and a way to educate patients on their disease state.

"They really have this deeper understanding of what's going on with their disease, what's going on with their risk, and understand the key risk factors to focus on," Martin said. "And the behaviors, technology can support diet and exercise, while also helping support the understanding of your medicines and adhering to those medicines."

Martin continued with a discussion of a digital divide in disparities related to access to these technologies. He highlighted the importance of providing or loaning the patients the technology, such as an Apple Watch, in order to promote an equity first methodology.

"The costs ultimately may be small compared to the benefits, the savings that can be accrued by patients doing better and staying out of the hospital," he said.

Moreover, the coaching component involved allows patients to learn the best ways to use the technology and become excited about its capability, as well as exciting the family care team about using the device, Martin explained.

He additionally discussed the potential for the data influx to be overwhelming for clinicians and thus, lead to inertia. The importance of simplicity and an intuitive interface becomes paramount, as that can enable the ability to focus on the important data, he added.

But, the accuracy of these data is also paramount, as inaccurate data may lead to poor clinical decisions.

"When someone's selecting a digital health intervention, we want to make sure that whatever sensors it's using to bring in those data are well validated in the first place," Martin said. "We should really have rigorous standards around that, otherwise, we're going to end up not achieving the results that we would want."

Regarding the timeline for further advancements in digital health, Martin stressed the need for patience. He noted the desire to move fast in the medical world as new technologies show results, but larger scale studies ultimately take time.

"We have to be patient in the medical world to achieve those clinical results that actually show the value of the intervention to justify its further adoption and scale," Martin said. "I do think we'll see some really impactful studies in the next five to 10 years, we'll see growth in this area."


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