In the first study of its kind, the BHF Data Science Centre worked with members of the public to conduct a new study to help understand how data from smartphones and wearables (such as fitness watches) could be used to improve cardiovascular health.

Smartphones and wearables, such as fitness watches, collect information that is highly relevant to health research, such as heart rate and measures of physical activity, such as steps per day. Securely linking this to a person’s NHS data could provide new insights into the causes and effects of cardiovascular diseases, and improve disease prediction, diagnosis and treatment.

The BHF Data Science Centre therefore set out to understand what types of smartphone and wearable data are both important for research to improve cardiovascular health  and acceptable for sharing by the public through two surveys.

The most important smartphone and wearable data identified by researchers for cardiovascular research included heart rate, heart rhythm, activity, and sleep. Over 75% of the public said they would be in favour of sharing these most important types of data.

This list of smartphone and wearable data can serve as a starting point for the creation of a large-scale dataset for cardiovascular research. The BHF Data Science Centre now aims to address the funding, infrastructure and technical challenges involved and in making this vision a reality.

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