Advancing Citizens Science: Webinar Series

I am new to this Board and hope to have the opportunity to interact with you all in the near future. My name is Andrew Ahn, and I am an internal medicine physician with a background in physics/engineering and physiological signal analyses. I am an Assistant Professor in Medicine & Radiology at Harvard Medical School - and was the Lead Medical Advisor for the Runner-up Winner (Team Dynamical Biomarkers) for the $10M Qualcomm-XPRIZE Tricorder competition.

We quickly realized through our Tricorder work that full access/control of wearable data continues to a major challenge (as many have alluded to on this Forum). In response, a group of us started a non-profit organization called PhysioQ ( - a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering citizens to pursue health-sciences through full access/control of their own physiological data - often obtained through wearable devices - and through enhanced analytical skills and physiological knowledge. We have partnered with companies like Garmin to make raw data available to users.

Our mission is to make health research accessible to anyone. Part of this endeavor is to educate motivated individuals. Consequently, we are planning a Webinar series that help researchers address major technical barriers, understand human physiology, and explore various analytical approaches. This will start off with more basic topics - some of which may be rudimentary to you - but we anticipate the topics would increase in sophistication and depth over time.

Our first Webinar is entitled “Understanding Garmin Wearable Data”, tomorrow Friday (7/16/21) at 10:30-11:30 AM EST. It will be a Live-session with time for Q&A.

PhysioQ Live Webinar

Looking forward to seeing you,



Hi Andrew,
I love what you are doing and I am working on something similar through a website I recently launched. I am a physician in Florida at the Mayo Clinic. Do you have an e-mail I can send you a message at? Feel free to e-mail me at with your contact. Hope we get to connect.

I read just one of Dr. Z’s reports on a topic often discused in the QS community and found that it is clearly wrong.

Hi rain8,
Thanks for the comment. Can you tell me about which report and what your suggestion is so I can look into it and make adjustments or changes? It’s important to have the right data and Id like to know what is wrong. Thank you. You can email me at

I can tell you as a Kardia user that it’s data rights approach is very weak. I say this as somebody who finds the device very useful. I have a heart arrhythmia and have used the Kardia in concert with two other devices (the Zio, prescribed by my cardiologist) and the One Button Tracker from Totti Labs. The Kardia was important for getting a diagnosis in advance of further testing. HOWEVER, my only access to the data is in PDF format. This is no good. Giving Kardia a 20/20 data rights score is, as @rain8dome9 puts it: clearly wrong.

@Andrew_C_Ahn : I missed this one, but is there a list of future webinars?

Thanks for the comment and sharing your experience.

In the data rights and security section we evaluate each device based on their ability to secure data, their disclosure statements, privacy controls, and data sharing.

We don’t really rate them based on the ability to provide data in various formats such as PDF. Did you have issues with the things mentioned above? Such as data privacy, having data hacked, data sharing, etc? Or only the inability to get a PDF form of the data? Great to have these conversations about these companies. Our scores are not fixed but change as new information is made available.

Thanks again - Dr. Z

Hi Dr. Z, I think the framework for analysis of data rights is out of synch entirely with what self-researchers need. If your audience is legal compliance for institutions, your framework might make sense—perhaps that’s the purpose. But access to our own data in a convenient format for analysis is the most fundamental data right for self-researchers.

I understand exactly what you mean. The intent of this category is to evaluate how companies secure user data, who they share it with, post privacy controls, and all the features that would help a patient decide if their data is being handled safely and securely. It is not so much about the ability to give users their raw data. I do see why this would be of great importance for the users on this forum and this is something we should also probably evaluate. I’m going to put this on our list of issues to address with these devices. But I do hope it’s clear how our analysis is not necessarily wrong based on what we are evaluating, and now I understand what you meant. This is a great point actually. I like to have these discussion to find out what users need and this feedback helps us adjust our ratings so they are accurate and add more content in the future.

I’d also point out that this view of data rights is somewhat out of sync with the discourse (and legal reality) of data rights, e.g. in the European Union.

The EU’s data protection law (GDPR) explicitly includes the rights to access your own data and (more importantly) to data portability, which even specifies that the data should be in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format, which a PDF in Kardia’s case arguably wouldn’t fulfill.

I will not tell you. That information is for me to use to test the general quality of the information on your and other sites. Its not political though. EDIT: 3 of the devices you have reviewed I have never heard of and am interested in. Please use [1,2] to connect the references with their use in news. Also, I know some libraries that could parse pdf into structured data.

Thank you both for the discussion. These are great points and we will have to potentially include this in our evaluation. The users on this forum are experts in self quantification and wearable devices, in your experience, how much of the general public typically wants access to their data in such a granular fashion?

Hi rain8dome9,
If you do not wish to share that is understandable, but it would help us improve the information for other users. We strive to make the website as complete and accurate as possible, so if you change your mind please let us know so we can improve it. I do not understand your follow-up question about devices you have not heard of and the news. Thank you.

Please use source to statement linking like wikipedia does it. Mentioning FDA approval and number of trials is also a very good thing. Could you link to the trials and FDA approval?

Thanks for the comment. Yes, all of our news articles are referenced with articles. We do not reference all of the wearable reports because there is already a lot of information. The issue with so many references is finding the balance between providing people with data but also making the website easy to browse and user friendly. That’s why we don’t list all of the references for each wearable report. But we were considering if we should do this in the future. Regarding FDA approval this can be found on the FDA website but it takes some searching for each device and the clinical trials information can be found at

I think the general public cares quite a bit about these things, maybe not to use the data themselves on that a granular level like the users of this forum. But reasonable data exports in standardized, machine-readable formats are import to people nevertheless for other reasons, e.g. to avoid vendor lock-in or being able to share data with healthcare providers.

I’d also argue that if there wasn’t a public demand for this kind of data exports that the EU wouldn’t have bothered to make that one of the user rights :slight_smile: