Google launches Health research app for Android users
Google is launching a health research app for Android phones, which would let anyone with a device participate in medical studies. The first study run through the app, called Google Health Studies, will attend at respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19.
Members in the study will use the app to report any respiratory symptoms, the anticipations they’re using to stop disease, and whether they’ve been tested for COVID-19 or the flu.
The app will gather demographic data, like age, gender, and race as well. “Researchers in this study can analyze trends to understand the link between mobility such as the number of daily trips a person makes outside the home and the extent of COVID-19,” Google published in a press release.
The app will transfer data to researchers utilizing a technique called federated learning, which will batch aggregated trends from various devices, rather than pull information from each participant separately.
Health Studies is Google’s answer to Apple’s Research app, which runs on iOS devices. Last year, it began studies on menstrual cycles, mobility and heart health, and hearing. Apple also allows researchers to build their own iPhone apps through its ResearchKit program.
Studies run through the app will appear with the same hints as research from other commercial wearable products: they can only obtain people who can purchase products like an Android phone.
Aggregated data is an excellent way to preserve privacy, but it means researchers aren’t able to take a granular look at the information.
Android phone users have a below-median income than iPhone users, which might be a benefit for Google Health Studies. “Android represents a more diverse dataset than the iPhone. We’re pretty excited about the ability to leverage that,” John Brownstein, a chief innovation officer of Boston Children’s Hospital working on the study with Google, reported Stat News.