At the recent O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), Google took time to show mobile apps they have created that can collect what most would consider benign everyday data, such as how much you run everyday. This type of data collecting, “Observations of Daily Living”, can be entered into your Google Health personal health record.

There was one app that was extremely interesting and could hold some real implications towards research:

One researcher uses a sensor, stuck into an inhaler, to feed data to a phone and collect information on where and when people have asthma attacks. If we collect a lot of data from a lot of people over time, we may learn more about what triggers these attacks.

We’ve reviewed a similar app like this for the iPhone, called AsthmaMD, but Google’s version has some serious differences – you wouldn’t have to manually input data into your phone.

Some of the other health care related apps mentioned were:

On the fun side, a Google employee figured out how to measure the rotation of bike pedals using the magnet in an Android phone. This lets employees maintain the right aerobic speed and record how fast they and their friends are peddling.

One app uses GPS to show your path during a run.

Another app uses the accelerometer to show your elevation during a bike ride.

Also of note should be the description Google gave for their display of mobile health technology:

Google Health is an application with an open API, and its long term success depends on the developer community building useful applications that help people achieve their health goals.

In this talk, we will describe this model and the role of developers who create specialized solutions for people with specific health needs. We will focus in particular on the increasingly important role of mobile applications in health and how those will work with Google Health.

Google definitely appears to be making a bigger push towards taking users mobile medical data and archiving it. The key for Google will be to keep making partnerships with electronic medical record companies or institutions in order to make their data talk with patient’s record, such as the Cleveland Clinic partnership in the past.