Impact of Personal Health Records and Wearables on Health Outcomes and Patient Response: Three-Arm Randomized Controlled Trial

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019 Jan 4;7(1):e12070. doi: 10.2196/12070.


Background: Although using the technologies for a variety of chronic health conditions such as personal health record (PHR) is reported to be acceptable and useful, there is a lack of evidence on the associations between the use of the technologies and the change of health outcome and patients' response to a digital health app.

Objective: This study aimed to examine the impact of the use of PHR and wearables on health outcome improvement and sustained use of the health app that can be associated with patient engagement.

Methods: We developed an Android-based mobile phone app and used a wristband-type activity tracker (Samsung Charm) to collect data on health-related daily activities from individual patients. Dietary record, daily step counts, sleep log, subjective stress amount, blood pressure, and weight values were recorded. We conducted a prospective randomized clinical trial across 4 weeks on those diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who had visited the outpatient clinic of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. The trial randomly assigned 60 patients to 3 subgroups including 2 intervention groups: (1) mobile app and wearable device users (n=20), (2) mobile app-only users (n=20), and (3) controls (n=20). The primary outcome measure was weight change. Body weights before and after the trial were recorded and analyzed during clinic visits. Changes in OSA-related respiratory parameters such as respiratory disturbance, apnea-hypopnea, and oxygenation desaturation indexes and snoring comprised the secondary outcome and were analyzed for each participant.

Results: We collected the individual data for each group during the trial, specifically anthropometric measurement and laboratory test results for health outcomes, and the app usage logs for patient response were collected and analyzed. The body weight showed a significant reduction in the 2 intervention groups after intervention, and the mobile app-only group showed more weight loss compared with the controls (P=.01). There were no significant changes in sleep-related health outcomes. From a patient response point of view, the average daily step counts (8165 steps) from the app plus wearable group were significantly higher than those (6034 steps) from the app-only group because they collected step count data from different devices (P=.02). The average rate of data collection was not different in physical activity (P=.99), food intake (P=.98), sleep (P=.95), stress (P=.70), and weight (P=.90) in the app plus wearable and app-only groups, respectively.

Conclusions: We tried to integrate PHR data that allow clinicians and patients to share lifelog data with the clinical workflow to support lifestyle interventions. Our results suggest that a PHR-based intervention may be successful in losing body weight and improvement in lifestyle behavior.

Trial registration: NCT03200223; (Archived by WebCite at

Keywords: delivery of health care; electronic health record; lifestyle; mobile health; personal health record; sleep apnea, obstructive.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Health Records, Personal / psychology*
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications / standards
  • Mobile Applications / statistics & numerical data
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Republic of Korea
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / psychology*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices / psychology
  • Wearable Electronic Devices / standards
  • Wearable Electronic Devices / statistics & numerical data*

Associated data