Samsung Electronics has announced a new Initiative in partnership with research and healthcare organisations to explore possible advances in the digital health ecosystem and new research into the use of smartwatches and algorithms in the healthcare sector. Partners include the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Tulane University School of Medicine and Samsung Medical Centre. With this research program, Samsung aims to improve its technologies to support the healthcare sector, expand understanding of digital health and further explore the potential of smart personal devices. In collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, Samsung will develop solutions to monitor and improve sleep. “There is a growing understanding of how sleep can impact individuals and society in general. We want to go beyond what is currently possible - to investigate more specific sleep profiles, better personalise interventions and explore better models of sleep regularity, homeostasis (balance of the body's physical and chemical conditions) and circadian rhythm,” says Pattie Maes, professor at the MIT Media Lab and principal investigator of the cooperation initiative. The work with Brigham & Women's Hospital revolves around biometric data from the Galaxy Watch. The intention is to explore how clarifying the concepts of resilience and fragility can create more effective and personalised images of individuals' health. "With our partnership with Samsung, we will seek to put concepts of resilience and frailty into quantifiable terms and investigate how different physiological systems affect each other," explains Dr Bruce Levy, interim chair of the department of medicine and head of the division of pulmonary medicine and intensive care at the hospital. With this future information, people will be able, using wearable sensor technology, to maximise resilience in the face of stressful elements and map individual recovery trajectories. In partnership with Tulane University School of Medicine, Samsung will use the Galaxy Watch's BioActive sensor to monitor a range of cardiovascular disease indicators. “By combining our extensive experience in cardiovascular disease, Samsung's BioActive sensor technology and data-driven machine learning approaches, we aim to gather a significant set of data to help better predict who is at risk of hospitalization, recommend treatments more quickly and thus improve health outcomes,” details Dr Nassir Marrouche, lead researcher of the study and director of the medical school's arrhythmia innovation center. Finally, the close collaboration with Samsung Medical Center will research healthcare in various domains with the aim of developing an integrated data analysis platform and advanced algorithms for reporting abnormal symptoms. “This new cooperation initiative will study methods and systems covering heart health, sleep and mindfulness, using personalized dashboards and dynamic, multi-domain platforms,” says Seung Woo Park, president and CEO of Samsung Medical Center. Digital health market by 2030 The global digital health market is expected to reach a value of $586.6 billion by 2030, a compound annual growth rate of 16.8 per cent, with 2022 as the start year of the forecast period, according to Vantage Market Research. According to the study, this growth in digital health solutions is likely to be driven by the search for better patient involvement, based on the proliferation of mobile applications and wearable devices for monitoring physical conditions in real time. Telehealth solutions for remote care, more efficient provision of treatments and greater integration of technologies into medical practices are also factors that should heat up the market. The obstacles to growth, meanwhile, are issues related to data security and privacy, often complex regulatory standards and the digital divide in some demographic groups. Market dynamics will also reflect collaborative efforts between healthcare providers, regulatory bodies, and technology developers, as is the case with these Samsung Electronics partnerships, to ensure the effective and responsible use of digital health solutions. Regulatory issues in the US On 11 October, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US government agency that controls food, drugs and medical equipment, among other things, announced the creation of a new Digital Health Advisory Committee to explore scientific and technical issues related to digital health technologies, such as digital therapeutics, wearable devices, remote patient monitoring, as well as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. The FDA will solicit input from the committee, which will be made up of individuals with technical and scientific expertise from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The aim is to help ensure that digital medical devices are designed and targeted to meet the needs of diverse populations. The Digital Health Advisory Committee will advise the FDA on issues related to digital technologies employed in healthcare, providing relevant expertise and perspectives to help improve the agency's understanding of the benefits, risks and clinical outcomes associated with the use of these digital tools. The committee should be fully operational by 2024.