Mobile App Gateway celebrates one-year anniversary

October 19, 2018

In its first year in existence, the Duke Mobile App Gateway has established itself as a collaborative resource for Duke faculty and students interested in using technology like apps, connected devices, and text messaging to conduct research and improve health care delivery. The Mobile App Gateway team has also helped to foster partnerships with leading technology companies.

Under the leadership of Faculty Director Ryan Shaw, PhD, RN, and Associate Directors Katie D. McMillan, MPH, and Marissa Stroo, MCCi, the Gateway team has validated its hunch that inspired their proposal - there is a vibrant and curious community at Duke that wants to do more with health technology.

“The 150 consultations we’ve had in the last year are proof of how interested researchers and clinicians are to use apps and wearables to further their research and improve the care of their patients,” Katie D. McMillan said.

The Gateway formed as a resource to develop mobile-related health tools and solutions, and much of the work that’s been done in the first year has been understanding the need for these solutions at Duke. One trend the team discovered was many grants do not completely cover application build costs, so researchers are looking for less expensive options.

For example, James Walter Fox, MD, in the Department of Pediatrics, came to the Gateway for help developing a mobile wellness survey to monitor emotional wellness and burnout for health professional trainees across departments. The team helped Dr. Fox accomplish this by shifting to a text message-based approach, which was more cost effective and led to increased user engagement.

The Gateway has also helped facilitate partnerships outside of Duke. Fletcher Lee Hartsell III, MD, MPH, from the Department of Neurology, connected with the team to help grow his app, MS Mosaic, which helps monitor the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). The Gateway connected Dr. Hartsell with Medable, a digital healthcare company based out of Palo Alto, CA, to help expand his reach.

“The MAG is now recognized as a reputable source for information and guidance in the digital health space at Duke,” Dr. Shaw said. “We are also becoming a stronger partner with DHTS as the new Digital Strategy Office grows and helps guide DHTS in implementing digital health tools for patient care.”

Moving forward, the Gateway team plans on creating a self-service roadmap for the Duke community to help them determine what technological tools would work best for their projects. The Gateway will also continue exploring cost-saving measures for researchers, as well as hosting its ongoing consultation services and educational events and providing funding opportunities. Ultimately, the team wants more people at Duke to become aware of the benefits of health technology.

“Developing an app, wearable or new software for research projects, clinical care, or even entrepreneurial ventures can be daunting,” Katie said. “Working with our team can streamline the process of getting apps into the hands of your users.”

Learn more about the Duke Mobile App Gateway.