Watching for Disease: the Changing Paradigm of Disease Screening in the Age of Consumer Health Devices

  • Anubodh S. Varshney
  • Christopher Madias
  • Rahul Kakkar
  • David T. MartinEmail author


There has been a recent proliferation of consumer health devices (CHDs) that enable user-initiated screening for a variety of diseases. These devices represent a paradigm shift in the deployment of disease screening, a process that has historically been led by clinicians following the guidance of professional bodies. The detection of AF via CHDs is a contemporary example of this phenomenon and highlights several important implications of the shift of disease screening from clinicians to CHD users. These include responsibility for patient data and outcomes, healthcare costs and access, and an evolution of the patient-provider relationship. However, as CHD technologies mature and become more affordable, they have the potential to detect actionable subclinical disease and improve health. Rather than allow CHDs to enter the marketplace organically with the potential for unintended negative consequences, it is critical that clinical, research, and industry communities proactively collaborate and establish best practices for their use.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest. David T. Martin: consulting fees from Biotronik, Inc. and Abbott, Inc.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Tufts Medical CenterBostonUSA

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