Today, you can do almost everything from your smartphone, from banking to Excel spreadsheets to platform-level gaming. Now with Google Health Studies, you can participate in medical research with the same ease on your Android smartphone.
Google Health Studies addresses two of the biggest blocks for medical research in one. First, for researchers, finding a sample that is representative of the entire population is very complicated and without generalizable data, the studies lose value. So allowing researchers to access a pool of everyone with an Android phone (somewhere in the realm of 2 billion users) helps to solve this problem. Next, for individuals, finding the time to participate in a study presents its own issues, not to mention if there is a need for travel to the research facility. Now you can do it directly from your smartphone.
One question that may come up is how will my data be used in Google Health Studies? Participants can see what data is being contributed, who it will go to, and why and when it is shared. You will explicitly consent to how you want your data to be used and even be given the option to see the findings that resulted from your participation. In addition, your data will be kept on your device and when researchers access data, it will be encrypted data released from multiple devices at once, so there is no way for you and your device to be identified from that.
Since we’re still living with COVID-19, the first study you will see in Google Health Studies if you’re in the United States is the Respiratory Health Study, studying how respiratory illnesses such as influenza and COVID-19 affect individual communities. Participants will regularly self-report their experiences with COVID, such as symptoms and preventative measures. This is the only study as of right now, but Google hopes to greatly expand that in the future.
You can download Google Health Studies on the Play Store right now.