Digital activity trackers have the potential to either revolutionize wellness data collection, or to end up collecting dust in a desk drawer. However, researchers at Partners HealthCare in Boston are undertaking a project, the building of an "engagement engine," that utilizes machine learning to help quantify what will encourage tracker users to keep on using them in pursuit of better health.

"We don't want these trackers to sit in the drawer, and that was where this effort was born," principal investigator Kamal Jethwani, M.D., senior director of connected health innovation at Partners, told Health Data Management. "If we can get you to consistently wear a tracker, you will walk 18 percent more. There are studies that have demonstrated that. We know that already. The problem is people don't use it long enough to see that effect."

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