Digital health (DH) is the use of digital technologies and data analytics to understand health-related behaviors and enhance personalized clinical care. DH is increasingly being used in clinical trials, and an important field that could potentially benefit from incorporating DH into trial design is pharmacogenetics. Prospective pharmacogenetic trials typically compare a standard care arm to a pharmacogenetic-guided therapeutic arm. These trials often require large sample sizes, are challenging to recruit into, lack patient diversity, and can have complicated workflows to deliver therapeutic interventions to both investigators and patients. Importantly, the use of DH technologies could mitigate these challenges and improve pharmacogenetic trial design and operation. Some DH use cases include (1) automatic electronic health record-based patient screening and recruitment; (2) interactive websites for participant engagement; (3) home- and tele-health visits for patient convenience (e.g., samples for lab tests, physical exams, medication administration); (4) healthcare apps to collect patient-reported outcomes, adverse events and concomitant medications, and to deliver therapeutic information to patients; and (5) wearable devices to collect vital signs, electrocardiograms, sleep quality, and other discrete clinical variables. Given that pharmacogenetic trials are inherently challenging to conduct, future pharmacogenetic utility studies should consider implementing DH technologies and trial methodologies into their design and operation.
Keywords: clinical trials; digital health; health information technology; personalized medicine; pharmacogenetics; telehealth; wearable devices.