Beiwe Smartphone Sub-Study Fact Sheet

Principal Investigator: Jorge Chavarro, MD, ScD


Purpose of this research

The Nurses’ Health Study 3 and Growing Up Today Study team is using the Beiwe smartphone application to collect data on participants’ location and accelerometry. These data will be analyzed to study the health impacts of physical activity, local environment, and sleep patterns.

Sponsor of this research

The investigators of the Nurses’ Health Study 3 and Growing Up Today Study are conducting this research. The Mass General Brigham Human Research Committee monitors the study. This research is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

What is Beiwe?

The Beiwe smartphone app is a data collection platform for iOS and Android devices. The app was developed by the Onnela Lab at Harvard University.

What data is being collected by the application?

The smartphone application will use the sensors on your smartphone to collect information on location, accelerometry (movement), and when your phone is on or off. This data will help us understand how location and your lifestyle activity may affect health.

What is the location data being used for? 

We are using the location data to estimate how much time per day you are spending at home or at work, as well as to estimate your daily exposures to environmental factors (such as air pollution and green spaces) across the different places you spend your time.

Do I need to keep my phone with me during the study?

Yes, please try your best to keep your phone with you at all times during the study to provide us with the most accurate data. This could be in your pocket or in a bag/backpack during waking hours and in your home at night.

Will the application use my cellular data?

No. The smartphone application will rely on WiFi to upload data collected during the study. Data usage of the smartphone application is minimal (~10 MB per day). Please be sure to connect to WiFi at least once per week so the application can backup your data, though we recommend connecting once per day.

I am concerned about the location sharing aspect of this study. Who has access to my data?

All data from the smartphone application will be encrypted and uploaded to secure, password-protected servers. All study data will only be seen by the researchers working on the project or study staff and will only be stored with a unique study ID number, not with your name.  We will not know what you are doing or who you are with, and will not use your location information for any purpose other than research.

I see a notification in the app that I have a questionnaire, but I’m busy right now.  What do I do?

You can complete the questionnaire any time on the day you receive it.