New technology and novel methods for capturing health-related data in longitudinal and cohort studies ShareThis


This workshop aimed to explore and discuss the use of new technology and methods for measuring health-related data in longitudinal studies.

About the workshop

Measuring health-related data in longitudinal studies can be a difficult task.

However, the recent development of innovative new techniques, such as the passive detection of health behaviours like smoking with wearable devices, means we will soon be able to measure more detailed and accurate data, in less invasive ways than has previously been possible.

This full-day workshop aimed to explore and discuss the use of these new technologies and methods for capturing health-related data in longitudinal studies.

Delegates heard experiences of techniques already in use in the CLOSER’s consortium of studies, and from researchers developing new approaches to capturing a variety of health data from participants’ in their day-to-day lives. There were also opportunities to discuss issues related to these new techniques, and ideas and requirements for future developments within this field.

Outline of the day

Session 1 – Reflections on experience

Objectively measuring physical activity in the Millennium Cohort Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study – Matt Brown (Institute of Education, UCL)

Adopting new technologies in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development – Andrew Wong (MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL)

Plans for the Health Innovation Panel in Understanding Society – Meena Kumari (Institute for Social & Economic Research, University of Essex)

Session discussion

Session 2 – Tools and techniques

Using Twitter for high-resolution phenotyping of mood in large samples – Oliver Davis (MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol)

StopWatch: a smartwatch-based system for passive detection of smoking – Chris Stone (Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, University of Bristol)

Through babies’ eyes: practical and theoretical considerations of using wearable technology to measure parent-infant behaviour from the mothers’ and infants’ viewpoints – Rebecca Pearson (Centre for Academic Mental Health, University of Bristol)

Online tools and mobile phone photography for in-depth dietary data capture: reflections from a pilot study – Laura Johnson (Centre for Exercise Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol)

Session discussion

Session 3 – New directions in connected health

SPHERE – a Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment – Pete Woznawski (Merchant Venturers’ School of Engineering, University of Bristol)

Current and potential uses of connected health devices for research data collection – Josh Keith (Associate Director, Social Research Institute, Ipsos MORI)

Session discussion

General discussion – Defining a research agenda and identifying priority areas for further research


If you have any questions, please contact Jennie Blows (