Google launches health research app

Google introduced Wednesday that it’s launching a brand new analysis app for Android telephones, which might permit anybody with a tool to take part in medical research. The primary examine run via the app, known as Google Well being Research, will take a look at respiratory diseases just like the flu and COVID-19.

Individuals within the examine will use the app to report any respiratory signs, the precautions they’re taking to forestall illness, and whether or not they’ve been examined for COVID-19 or the flu. The app will accumulate demographic data, like age, gender, and race as effectively. “Researchers on this examine can look at traits to know the hyperlink between mobility (such because the variety of every day journeys an individual makes exterior the house) and the unfold of COVID-19,” Google wrote in a press release.

The app will ship information to researchers utilizing a method known as federated studying, which can batch aggregated traits from a number of gadgets, quite than pull data from every participant individually.

Well being Research is Google’s reply to Apple’s Research app, which runs on iOS gadgets. Final yr, it launched studies on menstrual cycles, mobility and coronary heart well being, and listening to. Apple additionally lets researchers construct their very own iPhone apps via its ResearchKit program.

Research run via the app will include the identical caveats as analysis from different industrial wearable merchandise: they will solely enroll individuals who can buy merchandise like an Android telephone. Aggregated information is an efficient solution to shield privateness, nevertheless it means researchers aren’t capable of take a granular look at data.

Android telephone customers have a lower median income than iPhone customers, which is perhaps a profit for Google Well being Research. “Android represents in all probability a extra various dataset [than iPhone]. We’re fairly excited in regards to the potential to leverage that,” John Brownstein, a chief innovation officer of Boston Kids’s Hospital engaged on the examine with Google, told Stat News.

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