The Litmus Papers
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The Litmus Papers

What’s the Best Wearable Device for Clinical Trials?

One of the questions our pharmaceutical customers often ask us is: What is the best wearable device for clinical trials?

It’s a fair question. Despite the accelerated adoption of real world data in clinical trials, there is little industry guidance on wearable device selection for interested pharmaceutical companies to leverage. In fact, when we first surveyed the market two years ago, there was no independent player that was publishing on this topic. Realizing this immense gap in the landscape, we were moved to publish the first volume of the Litmus Health Device Census Report.

To this day, the Litmus’ Device Census Reports remain the only comprehensive investigation of the wearables landscape that examines these devices through the lens of clinical research.

Litmus Health Device Census Report Volume 2

Because the field has continued to evolve, today we are very pleased to announce the publication of the Device Census Report Volume 2. This updated report continues our tradition of evaluating wearables as data collection devices for use in clinical trials.

Volume two builds on our first volume, in which we surveyed 198 wrist and body-worn wearables. The updated edition showcases the results of our research on over 40 devices, representing 26 individual brands. We have included wearables from the most prominent companies producing consumer devices — Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, Apple — as well as brands that specialize in wearables for clinical use, such as ActiGraph and Empatica.

Download the full report here:

Additionally, the new report expands on the foundation of our earlier report, further refining our metrics for inclusion as well as narrowing the field to some of the best options for research and patient care. As always, we have highlighted devices that provide a transparent data flow, an important component for clinical research.

Because transparent data lineage is so important, we have included a device “transparency score.” Through this score, we hope to convey a device manufacturer’s level of commitment to providing researchers and clinicians with high-quality data. These scores were determined by evaluating how much information is publicly available to researchers, such as evidence of data transformation, developer documentation, and availability of a more in-depth application programming interface (API) or software development kit (SDK) to use for clinical purposes.

As we’ve advised many customers over the past several years, any choice of wearable requires a careful assessment of study needs and insights into the compromises that may be made with the choice of any device. The report encourages researchers and clinicians to select a device that best serves their research goals and analysis plan.

Inclusion criteria for devices in the second volume include:

  • Wrist or hand-worn, as opposed to patches, ingestible, or environmental sensors
  • Intended to capture continuous or near-continuous data, as opposed to form factors only suited to workouts or, for example, sensors that default to sleep mode except during workouts
  • Primarily intended to capture data about a human, rather than its environment
  • Intended to capture data beyond a clinical setting; i.e., in a real-world setting
  • Designed to capture heart rate data at a minimum
  • Focused on real-world data, including Average Daily Living and Physical Activity Intensity
  • Dedicated to applications of the device within the pharma and research industries, as opposed to purely concentrated on consumer fitness applications

Device makers represented in the report include:

  • Actigraph
  • Apple
  • Fitbit
  • Garmin
  • Oura
  • Samsung

To learn more about Litmus, as well as download a copy of the Device Census Report, Volume Two, please visit



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Litmus Health

Litmus Health

Litmus is a clinical data science platform focused on health-related quality of life.