CDC to examine smartphones for collecting health behavior info

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proposed a feasibility study to evaluate the use of smartphones to collect information about health behaviors. Specifically, the CDC will examine the "process of conducting Web surveys by smartphone and text message surveys by feature phone (cell phones that do not have Web access), the outcomes of the surveys, and the value of the surveys."

The one-year feasibility study would include English-speaking U.S. residents aged 18-65, according to an agency announcement in the Federal Register. The CDC is requesting approval for the study from the Office of Management and Budget.

"New mobile communications technologies provide a unique opportunity for innovation in public health surveillance," according to the CDC's notice. "Text messaging and smartphone Web access are immediate, accessible and anonymous, a combination of features that could make smartphones ideal for the ongoing research, surveillance, and evaluation of risk behaviors and health conditions, as well as targeted dissemination of information." Announcement