• Article

Establishing linkages between distributed survey responses and consumer wearable device datasets A pilot protocol

BACKGROUND: As technology increasingly becomes an integral part of everyday life, many individuals are choosing to use wearable technology such as activity trackers to monitor their daily physical activity and other health-related goals. Researchers would benefit from learning more about the health of these individuals remotely, without meeting face-to-face with participants and avoiding the high cost of providing consumer wearables to participants for the study duration.

OBJECTIVE: The present study seeks to develop the methods to collect data remotely and establish a linkage between self-reported survey responses and consumer wearable device biometric data, ultimately producing a de-identified and linked dataset. Establishing an effective protocol will allow for future studies of large-scale deployment and participant management.

METHODS: A total of 30 participants who use a Fitbit will be recruited on Mechanical Turk Prime and asked to complete a short online self-administered questionnaire. They will also be asked to connect their personal Fitbit activity tracker to an online third-party software system, called Fitabase, which will allow access to 1 month's retrospective data and 1 month's prospective data, both from the date of consent.

RESULTS: The protocol will be used to create and refine methods to establish linkages between remotely sourced and de-identified survey responses on health status and consumer wearable device data.

CONCLUSIONS: The refinement of the protocol will inform collection and linkage of similar datasets at scale, enabling the integration of consumer wearable device data collection in cross-sectional and prospective cohort studies.


Brinton, J. E., Keating, M. D., Ortiz, A. M., Evenson, K. R., & Furberg, R. D. (2017). Establishing linkages between distributed survey responses and consumer wearable device datasets: A pilot protocol. JMIR Research Protocols, 6(4), e66. https://doi.org/10.2196/resprot.6513

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