Using activity data from wearable devices vs. smartphones to predict hospital readmission


Many health systems are searching for ways to predict hospital readmissions better. Current approaches typically use data from inpatient admission or health insurance claims. However, neither of these measures include information on patient behaviors once they leave the hospital.

Mobile technologies such as smartphones and wearable devices are growing in adoption. More than 70 percent of adults own a smartphone and carry it with them frequently. These devices could be used to monitor daily health behaviors.


We designed a clinical trial that leveraged mobile technologies to obtain patient activity data to enhance readmission prediction models. Patients were randomly assigned to track activity using either a smartphone or a wearable device for six months.


Patients discharged from the hospital using smartphones transmitted data for a greater duration and proportion of time, with a 32 percent relative increase in patients completing the 180-day period compared with those using wearables. Because smartphones are ubiquitous, these findings indicate that these devices could be a scalable approach for remotely monitoring patient health behaviors.


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