The future of public health research is being revolutionized by wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers. These tools enable researchers to conduct large-scale studies on a variety of diseases, with current investigations spanning heart diseases, neurological disorders, cancers, and more. A significant project in this domain is the Apple Women’s Health Study, a collaboration between Harvard, Apple, and the NIEHS, aiming to gather menstrual cycle data from up to 1 million users to understand its correlation with various health conditions.
The rise in wearables, with nearly half of Americans using them, has led to collaborations between academic medical centers and tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google. These partnerships have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the role of wearables in remote patient monitoring. However, challenges such as ensuring data accuracy, privacy concerns, and inclusivity remain. Despite these hurdles, the trajectory indicates a growing reliance on wearable-based research in the future.