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Digital Enhancement of Science and Care

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Cedars-Sinai’s integration of remote data from wearables, apps and home monitors began in 2015. Seeing the value that remote data held for improved disease description and prediction, clinician-investigators have now embraced it, using it to identify at-risk patients and gain reliable knowledge on how best to intervene early.

It is also useful for following patients post-treatment. For example, wearable devices have linked postoperative step count with functional outcomes in cancer patients, leading to the creation of tailored interventions such as virtual exercise programs and art tours in surgical recovery units. Ongoing research includes studies funded by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the U.S. Department of Defense to determine whether wearable-reported activity predicts functional outcomes for prostate cancer patients.

“Wearables and remote monitoring devices have allowed us to break down the four walls of the clinic to measure patient activity in a moving environment, rather than a single snapshot during occasional office visits.”
– Gillian Gresham, PhD

Transforming Treatment With Technology

Wearables also now complement VR technology to create an immersive, biofeedback-tailored intervention for cancer patients to reduce their physical and cognitive experience of disease. A National Cancer Institute grant allows Cedars-Sinai investigators to explore the impact of these combined technologies on pain, opioid use and activity levels among patients with gastrointestinal cancer.

Moving forward, Cedars-Sinai clinician-investigators plan to use machine learning to titrate each patient’s VR sessions according to their unique biometric profile to provide the most therapeutic session possible.

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Virtual reality has laid Descartes’ theory of mind-body dualism to rest.

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