What you need to know
- Google Health Studies seeks to crowdsource information for medical research.
- Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have teamed up for the first study available on the app.
- Identifying information will remain private and stays on the device.
The importance of one's physical and even mental health can't be stressed anymore this year as COVID-19 surges and lockdowns are put back into effect. Google and Apple have even teamed up for a contact tracing API that's being rolled out in various regions.
Meanwhile, companies like Pfizer and Moderna have managed to quickly develop vaccines, the result of tireless research into how the virus functions and how it affects those who become exposed. Research such as this focuses a lot on statistics; who is more vulnerable? How are certain groups reacting? How are the different regions being affected? Demographics like this are important for medical research, and Google's new app is making it easier to become involved with medical studies.
Google Health Studies allows users to participate in health studies being conducted by leading institutions. Within the app, users who apply and qualify for studies can self-report data such as their symptoms, track research and information from studies and personal health reports, and even apply for more than one study at a time. Users will be tasked with completing questionnaires and surveys, and any data captured from the app will remain on-device. Privacy is also important; Institutions will have access to statistical data only, and users will have full transparency regarding what information is shared and how.
For the first study, Google partnered with Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School for a respiratory health study which will help with a better understanding of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. Users interesting in contributing to the study or others like it can download Google Health Studies on the Play Store, or get more information about the app from Google's blog post.
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