What You Should Know:
– Google announces the launch of its Google Health
Studies App with the first study focused on respiratory illness in partnership
with Harvard Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital.
– Google Health Studies aims to create opportunities for
more people to participate in health research. By contributing, you’ll
represent your community and start improving the future of health for everyone.
To make it easier for leading research institutions to
connect with potential study participants, Google has announced the launch of
the Google Health Studies app with the first study focused
on respiratory illness. The app allows anyone with an Android phone to participate
in health studies by answering survey questions and contributing relevant data.
Google Health Studies provides a platform for researchers to reach a large and
diverse population so they can better understand human health, while providing
the public with greater opportunities to contribute to medical research.
Help Scientists Better Understand Respiratory Diseases
For the first study, Google has partnered with researchers
from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, which will help
scientists and public health communities better understand respiratory
illnesses, including influenza and COVID-19. The study utilizes federated learning and analytics—a privacy technology that
keeps a person’s data stored on the device, while allowing researchers to
discover aggregate insights based on encrypted, combined updates from many
devices. The technology examine trends
to understand the link between mobility (such as the number of daily trips a
person makes outside the home) and the spread of COVID-19, This same
approach powers typing predictions on Gboard, without Google seeing
what individuals type.
Help Researchers Make Advancements in Medicine and Healthcare
Respiratory Health Study is open to adults in the U.S. and
will focus on identifying how types of respiratory illnesses evolve in
communities and differ across risk factors such as age, and activities such as
travel. Study participants will use the Google Health Studies app to regularly
self-report how they feel, what symptoms they may be experiencing, any
preventative measures they’ve taken, and additional information such as
COVID-19 or influenza test results. By taking part in this study, volunteers
can represent their community in medical research, and contribute to global
efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With COVID-19 emerging alongside seasonal respiratory pathogens, research is now needed more than ever to develop more effective treatments and mitigation strategies,” says Dr. John Brownstein, professor at Harvard Medical School and Chief Innovation Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital. “Google Health Studies provides people with a secure and easy way to take part in medical research, while letting researchers discover novel epidemiological insights into respiratory diseases.”
The Google Health Studies app is now available in the Google Play Store for download.