NIH-backed Stanford study to look at 5 million Azumio users' data

By Jonah Comstock

ArgusHealth app maker Azumio has partnered with Stanford University to make deidentified, anonymized data from a cohort of 5 million users available for research purposes. The study will be sponsored by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Azumio makes a number of different health tracking apps that track different biometrics including activity, heart rate, sleep, and diet, but the company has been working on integrating them all into one comprehensive tracking app called Argus. Stanford researchers will have data on users' activity (including break-downs into walking, running, cycling, and working out), heart rate, diet (tracked in different ways including calories, food categories, and photographs of food), and sleep. They'll be able to compare this data against demographic data, geographic data (50 percent of Azumio users are outside the United States), and data about how users share their Azumio data on social networks.

"The team that is working with Stanford on the data is coming from a different groups," Azumio CEO Bojan Bostjancic told MobiHealthNews. "There are people interested in mobility, how people walk, gait, that sort of thing. There are people interested in diet and obesity. There are people who study social networks. It’s kind of heterogenous and everyone has their own agenda. There’s a lot of scientific curiosity, looking thorugh these datasets for the first time and trying to see the patterns in them."

One researcher looking at the data will be Stanford computer science professor and Pinterest chief scientist Jure Leskovec, who has published extensively about social networks. The geographic aspect is also a big draw for researchers, Bostjancic said, because the data can be zoomed into the city level and includes some understudied areas.

Bostjancic said the first publications will start to appear in six to 12 months, though that's dependent on the peer review process.

This is actually the second time Azumio has worked with a university to make its data available for research purposes. Azumio participated, with a number of other apps and devices, in UCSF's Health eHeart study. In that case, Bostjancic told MobiHealthNews, the company actually co-developed a six-minute walk test just for the study, in addition to providing the Azumio Instant Heart Rate app to participants.