Requirements and Operational Guidelines for Secure and Sustainable Digital Phenotyping: Design and Development Study

Raj R. Jagesar, Jacob A. Vorstman, Martien J. Kas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Digital phenotyping, the measurement of human behavioral phenotypes using personal devices, is rapidly gaining popularity. Novel initiatives, ranging from software prototypes to user-ready research platforms, are innovating the field of biomedical research and health care apps. One example is the BEHAPP project, which offers a fully managed digital phenotyping platform as a service. The innovative potential of digital phenotyping strategies resides among others in their capacity to objectively capture measurable and quantitative components of human behavior, such as diurnal rhythm, movement patterns, and communication, in a real-world setting. The rapid development of this field underscores the importance of reliability and safety of the platforms on which these novel tools are operated. Large-scale studies and regulated research spaces (eg, the pharmaceutical industry) have strict requirements for the software-based solutions they use. Security and sustainability are key to ensuring continuity and trust. However, the majority of behavioral monitoring initiatives have not originated primarily in these regulated research spaces, which may be why these components have been somewhat overlooked, impeding the further development and implementation of such platforms in a secure and sustainable way.

Objective: This study aims to provide a primer on the requirements and operational guidelines for the development and operation of a secure behavioral monitoring platform.

Methods: We draw from disciplines such as privacy law, information, and computer science to identify a set of requirements and operational guidelines focused on security and sustainability. Taken together, the requirements and guidelines form the foundation of the design and implementation of the BEHAPP behavioral monitoring platform.

Results: We present the base BEHAPP data collection and analysis flow and explain how the various concepts from security and sustainability are addressed in the design.

Conclusions: Digital phenotyping initiatives are steadily maturing. This study helps the field and surrounding stakeholders to reflect upon and progress toward secure and sustainable operation of digital phenotyping–driven research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20996
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7-Apr-2021

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