Detect Study



Get the latest public health information from CDC and WHO.

1. Which devices can I connect to the DETECT study?

You can connect your smartphone and your connected wearable smartwatch or activity tracker. These include devices such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Amazefit, OURA, Beddit, Withings, or anything that can share data with Google Fit (if you are using an Android phone) or Apple HealthKit (if you are using an iPhone).

2. How do I get involved?

Participants must be at least 18 years of age and living in the US. Simply download the MyDataHelps app on your smartphone, answer some baseline information and easily connect your wearable device. After that, you’re good to go.

3. How can my activity tracker or wearable device help?

Recent research has shown that when people get an infection and start to get sick, there can be changes in the rate of their heartbeat, as well as daily sleep and activity patterns as measured by the devices you might be using. By trending this information over time, we may be able to identify the start of an outbreak much earlier than waiting for people to show up at emergency rooms.

4. Why should I take part?

Your participation will help improve our ability to respond earlier and better to outbreaks. You may notice and learn more about your own day-to-day health and find the digital diary helpful to track certain symptoms in case you begin to get sick.

You will be able to access up-to-date action guidance from the CDC and the World Health Organization within the app.

By contributing your data, you will join thousands of other individuals as “citizen scientists.” You will be empowered to take control of your own health, as well as help public health officials stop the outbreak of influenza-like illness within larger communities.

5. What if I start feeling flu-like symptoms after enrollment?

At any point you can go to the “I feel sick” section of the app. Here you will be able quickly log the type of symptoms experienced (e.g., fever, cough, aches) and the date they started. You will also be able to maintain a daily diary of whether you are feeling better, same, or worse than the day prior.

Please note: this app is not a substitute for medical treatment. If you have symptoms or questions, please call your doctor as you would if you were not participating in this study.

6. Do I have to do anything during the study? What if I want to stop my participation?

We are not going to burden you with detailed questionnaires to fill out. You primarily have to remember to keep your fitness tracker or wearable on and share data with the App. Periodically, you may receive a notification that will remind you to use the App to document if you are having any symptoms of an influenza-like illness. You are free to withdraw from the study at any time.

7. How long is the study?

The study will run for the next four years at a minimum so that we can reliably capture the seasonal changes in influenza-like illness.The study may continue after that period based on the findings during the next 4 years.

8. Do I need to have an account for my device to share data with the DETECT study?

Yes. You need to use your Fitbit account or turn on sharing data on your iPhone or Android Phone with the App. The app will walk you through how to connect your device to the app.

9. How do I sync my device/data with the DETECT study?

This depends on two things: which fitness tracker/device you use and what kind of smartphone you have (an Apple iPhone or an Android based phone). You have most likely already done this but you will need to follow the instructions of your fitness tracker as to how to connect it with your Phone and share data with Google Fit or Apple Health. The app will walk you through how to connect data from your Google Fit, Apple Health, or Fitbit account with the App.

If you have any issues connecting the accounts, you can contact DETECT support by emailing [email protected].

10. Can I see my device data in the DETECT app?

Yes, we will summarize the key data in the app.

11. Why should I connect my device to MyDataHelps?

Data from digital health devices may be informative to gather more information on illness such as the flu or cold. Your data will help researchers understand timing, symptoms, and treatments through on-app participant-reported outcomes.

12. How far back in time does the data I share go?

It depends on how long you have had your activity tracker and smartwatch and whether you have synced them. We will collect your device data as far back as it goes. Our primary focus is in the data in the recent past (last 60 days from day of enrollment) but to the extent you have data even older than that, we will be able to use that to advance our research.

13. How do I stop sharing my device data with DETECT?

You can stop sharing your data with the DETECT program at any time by withdrawing from the study.

14. Which data am I sharing with DETECT?

You can decide which data from your device account you want to share with DETECT. When you connect your device account to the DETECT program, you will be prompted to select which data to share. We recommend that you select “All” that we are requesting but you get to choose what to share based on your device and preference. This data includes data like steps, heart rate, and sleep. Additionally, you will be able to share your response to surveys, and you may be able to share your Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), if available.

15. Why do you ask for access to resting heart rate?

The program asks to collect data on your heart rate captured during rest, or sleep. Resting heart rate data is valuable to researchers in order to study the value of tracking heart rate in identifying influenza-like-illness. We will make your data anonymous to help keep it private and safe.

16. Why do you ask me to complete surveys?

The program asks you to complete a few surveys for your direct feedback. A baseline survey is informative of your general health status, while other surveys will be informative if you are experiencing any illness. We will make your data anonymous to help keep it private and safe.

17. Why do you ask for access to activity and sleep?

The program asks to collect data on your activity and sleep. Activity and sleep data, supported by heart rate information, is valuable to researchers in order to study the value of tracking heart rate in identifying illness. We will make your data anonymous to help keep it private and safe.

18. If I don’t allow all permissions, can I still contribute to the DETECT study?

Yes. You get to decide which data you want to share. This may mean that your data is left out of certain research in the future.

19. What happens to my device data when I stop sharing?

If you stop sharing your device data, the DETECT program will stop collecting it. Any data that you have already shared will remain in the program. You can start sharing again at any time. Researchers who already have your data will keep their access to that information only.

20. What happens to my device data if I stop participating in the DETECT study?

We will stop collecting any further data from you. We may have already used the information you have shared till the moment of you stopping participation in the study and researchers may continue to use this previously shared information.

Download MyDataHelps™ to Join DETECT