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William A. Wood, MD, MPH, is a UNC Lineberger member and an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology.
William A. Wood, MD, MPH

UNC Lineberger’s William Wood, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, co-authored an opinion column published in STAT, an online medical and life sciences news site. The column describes the value of collecting patient information outside of the clinic. That data is captured by a sensor used outside of the clinic during activities of daily living. The sensors could be worn like a smartwatch, ingested like a digital pill, or be part of a microphone in a voice-controlled assistant.

“More frequent — and even continuous — objective monitoring beyond the walls of the clinic offers the possibility of more precise and accurate assessments. This includes identifying phenomena that have previously been impossible to measure,” Wood and his coauthors wrote. “Arguably more important is that patients stand to benefit tremendously as the time and costs of bringing new therapies to market are reduced, the burden of trial participation on patients and caregivers drops, and our understanding of how new therapies affect activities of daily living improve.”

Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry is beginning to include clinical endpoints in its trials. To further this effort, the Digital Medicine Society has developed a crowdsourced list of companies that have publicly disclosed they’ve collected digital endpoints in clinical trials.

“This resource represents an encouraging trend, underscoring pharma’s commitment to realizing the promise of digital endpoints in drug development and indicating that the translation of digital measurements from pilot studies to use in drug development is already underway,” according to the authors.