These data can be wirelessly transmitted to healthcare providers to assess activity levels, monitor gait, sleep duration and quality, and/or measure blood glucose levels. In addition, pairing mobile health sensors with other biospecimen collections, such as at-home gut microbiome samples, compounds the value of the data. Gut microbiome and some cytokine information can be collected at home and mailed at room temperature to processing facilities, thus saving patients’ time and travel stress.
The collection of lifestyle data and its management is particularly important in the era of cancer immunotherapy treatment. The re-engineering of the body’s immune system by immune checkpoint blockade casts into sharp relief factors that affect immune system function, including diet, physical activity, and sleep. Older adults are at risk of being deficient in one or more of these areas, and this represents an actionable target to improve treatment outcomes. The collection of these data need not be burdensome to be beneficial or it does not need to include extra trips to the clinic but can illuminate aspects of health not currently explored.
Of course, there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions for assessing patients’ well-being, particularly for initial assessments. However, for subsequent visits, such as during cancer treatment on clinical trials, wearables and at-home kits are a safe and easy way to monitor patients while reducing the treatment burden on them and their caregivers. We hope this design will encourage more participation from older adults in clinical trials, and better inform our continued care of this growing population.