If I join the study what will I be expected to do?

To join the study you will first read the consent form that describes the study. Once agreeing to participate, the app will direct you to take an initial measurement of your physiologic responses. The optic sensor at the back of the phone will measure pulse and blood volume changes from your fingertip. We also recommend that you also take your blood pressure using an at home blood pressure monitor (like this A&D blood pressure monitor). You can also use blood pressure values from your last visit to the doctor’s office, if you don’t have access to a blood pressure monitor. If you don’t have a blood pressure monitor or don’t know your blood pressure, that is OK, you can still get feedback on your physiologic responses.

Which Samsung devices can be used to take a blood pressure measurement?

The Samsung S9 / S9+ / Note9 / S10 / S10+ devices have an optic sensor that is used to measure blood pressure. The Galaxy Watch Active wearables also has the capability to measure blood pressure. The Samsung Note 10 and Note 10+ devices do not have a built-in optic sensor, and may only be used to access My BP Lab when paired with a Galaxy Watch Active wearable. For additional information about participating in My BP Lab with a Note 10 or Note 10+, visit this page.

How do I take a blood pressure measurement?

To optimize the quality of the blood pressure recording, we recommend that you take the following steps to minimize movement, which can disrupt the signal.

  1. Sit up straight in a seated position with your arms rested beside you. It is very important that your non-dominant arm is fully supported. You can rest your arm on an armrest or side table.
  2. Your hand should be resting at a 45 degree angle at heart level. We recommend that you place a pillow or another support under the back of your hand.
  3. The Samsung S9 / S9+ / Note9 / S10 / S10+ has a built-in optic sensor on the back of the phone. Once you complete the consent form in the My BP Lab App, you will be directed to take a measurement. Follow the instructions on the screen.
  4. Using your non-dominant hand, gently place the tip of your index finger over the sensor. The sensor should be resting on top of your finger. Do not apply any pressure to the sensor as this may cause noise in the signal. No light should be shining through. Curl your fingers around the phone to hold the phone in place.
  5. The blood pressure measurement will take 20-30 seconds to complete. During the recording, sit as possible and relax. While you are recording avoid moving, talking, or taking deep breaths. The app will display a circular progress tracker during the recording. At the end of the recording, you will either see a completion notification.

I only see percentage changes when I take a blood pressure measurement. How do I see my actual blood pressure values?

The sensor algorithm needs one initial baseline value from a blood pressure machine as a reference value. This blood pressure machine could be an at home one (A&D, Omron), a blood pressure machine from a pharmacy/drug store, or values given to you by a medical professional at a doctor’s visit in the last couple of months. If you do not have an A&D cuff, you can select "other blood pressure cuff" and enter your values manually. Once you enter those reference value numbers then the app will return systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers. If you do not have any access to a blood pressure machine and do not know you current blood pressure value then the app is still quite useful since you can view the percentage changes in blood pressure over time.

If you are logged out of the app, you may be required to re-establish your baseline blood pressure measurement. Please record the cuff values you get during calibration so that you can re-enter them if you need to.

I want to re-calibrate/I already started the study and now I have access to a blood pressure cuff and want to do the calibration to see my blood pressure values, how do I do this?

You can recalibrate using the on-demand blood pressure measurement. If you press the green circle with the white heart at the bottom center of the app, this allows you to take an "on demand" blood pressure measurement. Once you press the heart, you will see an option at the bottom of the screen that says, "Recalibrate using blood pressure cuff." You can then follow the instructions for calibration (see prior question). If you want to enter numbers manually, select "Other type of blood pressure cuff."

If you are logged out of the app, you may be required to re-establish your baseline blood pressure measurement. Please record the cuff values you get during calibration so that you can re-enter them if you need to.

I'm having difficulty getting a good blood pressure reading. How do I improve the signal?

First, check the positioning of your hand. The error may be due to excessive movement. In order to minimize movement, place a pillow under your hand and wrist so that they are fully supported at a 45 degree angle. Additionally, avoid talking, crossing your legs, or taking deep breaths while taking the blood pressure recording.

Try moving the sensor higher on your finger so that the sensor is resting closer to the tip of your finger rather than the pad of your finger. Make sure your finger is fully covering the light.

If you apply pressure to the sensor, it will detect it as movement and you will not get a clear reading. Rest the sensor on your finger and try again.

The temperature of the room or your hand can affect the quality of the signal. Place your finger in a cup of warm water for 15-30 seconds. Dry your finger thoroughly and try again.

I was logged out of the app/the app is asking me to reauthenticate, what do I do? Did I just lose all of my data?

We know it is very frustrating to get logged out and have to reauthenticate and log back into the app. When you get logged out, you should sign back in using the same email you initially used to join the study through the "I already have an account" link at the bottom of the app screen. Once you reactivate, if you do not have the latest version of the app, you will be asked to redo the initial baseline bp measurement. We encourage you to write down your initial baseline values when you first calibrate the app so you can re-enter them at this stage.

After you log back in, the app will pick up where you left off and your data is always retained. You should be able to see your prior data on the history and profile screens. If you can't, please contact us at BPlab@ucsf.edu.

If you are experiencing frequent log-outs, this is likely a bug and the app developers are working to put out an update with a fix for it soon. Please let us know about the issue so that we can address it and keep an eye out for updates on Google Play or set your app to automatically update. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience.

Can someone else use my phone to measure their blood pressure?

Because the app requires you to complete an initial calibration, all of the blood pressure measurements taken through your app will be specific to you. If someone else uses your app to take their blood pressure, the output will not be reflective of that person's blood pressure.

Can anyone join the study?

Participants must be 18 years or older to participate and have a Samsung S9 / S9+ / Note9 / S10 / S10+ phone. Individuals with a Note 10/10+ can participate using a Galaxy Active / Active 2 Watch.

I am outside of the United States, can I download the app?

If you are outside of the United States, My BP Lab is currently available for download in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. We are working on being able to make this app available globally. This requires approval from every country. We are in the midst of receiving approval in several countries and the app will be made available on Google Play in the coming months. Check back here for a list of approved countries.

Are there any costs to participating?

There are no costs to participating in this research.

Will information about me be kept private?

Your data will be encrypted on your phone. We will replace your name with a random ID number and store your de-identified survey responses on a secure cloud server. We will combine the data from each participant (without names) and analyze it to answer research questions.

Read more about the privacy policy here.

Are there side effects or risks to participating?

There are no side effects from participating. It is possible that using this app will lead to data usage plan expenses. Some people might experience an increase in stress after responding to questions about stress in their lives.

What are the benefits of participating?

As you participate in the study you will receive insights into how you respond to different aspects of your day and how your body responds to different situations and contexts. Weekly “insights” into how your emotion, stress, and body responses will be “unlocked” so the more you participate the more information you will receive and the more accurate your insights will be.

How do I quit the study?

Although we hope you will participate in the study for three weeks, you can stop participating at any time. You can stop using the app or you can uninstall it from your phone. If you uninstall the app and want to rejoin the study at a later time, you can just install the app again and click on "I already have an account" to sign back in and resume participation.

What should I do if I observe blood pressure readings that are high?

The sensor is not a medical device and as such cannot be used for diagnostic purposes. Blood pressure levels rise and fall for a variety of reasons. If you are concerned about your health, stress levels, and/or blood pressure responses you should contact your primary care physician.

Is there contact information?

If you need to contact the study coordinators at UCSF you can email us at bplab@ucsf.edu.

If you are having trouble with the apps functionality or performance, you can contact Sage Bionetworks at android.dev@sagebase.org.

If you have a question regarding your rights as a study participant the contact information for UCSF Institutional Review Board is 415 476 1814.


What is new in My BP Lab 2.0?

In addition to new daily questions and improved blood pressure measurement, My BP Lab 2.0 has three major innovations: 1) cognitive tasks testing memory, attention and cognitive flexibility using game-like challenges; 2) stress management training intended to reduce stress and blood pressure levels; and 3) integration with the Samsung Active Watch.

Is it easier to take my blood pressure in My BP Lab 2.0?

Yes, we've leveraged the data from My BP Lab 1.0 to improve the ease of taking your blood pressure. In the new version of the app, you can see your waveform as the sensor captures your blood pressure, this helps make it easier to see when you are in the correct position for bp measurement.

Can you tell me more about the stress management training?

This is a science-based training designed to help you reduce stress in your daily life. For three weeks, you will complete brief 1-2 minute stress management tasks as part of your daily My BP Lab check-ins. The goal of these brief tasks is to introduce you to the best science-based stress management techniques and help you build skills that you can use at other times in your life when you feel stressed. Over the course of the 3-week study, you will measure your blood pressure and complete questions about your stress and daily experiences as part of your My BP Lab check-ins. Using this data, we will be able to learn about how these stress management techniques influence daily stress and blood pressure.

Do I have to participate in the stress management training and cognitive tasks?

When you sign up for the study, you will be asked if you want to join the stress management module.

If you opt in, you will be shown brief stress management videos before some of your daily check ins over the course of the three week study. Every time you are presented with a stress management task, you will have the option to skip the task and move on to the rest of the check in.

If you opt out, you will never see the stress management training.

For the cognitive tasks, these will appear at the end of some of your check ins. Skipping them is always an option.

After you have been enrolled in the study for three weeks, the stress management training and cognitive tasks will no longer appear at check ins. However, you may continue to measure your blood pressure and complete the short daily check-ins for as long as you'd like. In the future, there may be oppotunities to enroll in other trainings.

What happens if I miss a check-in?

There is no cost to missing a check-in. However, the three-week study starts the moment you sign up for the study. While you can always check your blood pressure and fill out the short daily surveys, the stress management modules and cognitive tasks are only available during the first three weeks. This means that if you sign up for the stress management training but do not complete check-ins for a week or two, you will miss many of the stress management and cognitive tasks. We encourage you to sign up when you are ready to begin using the app and try to complete the full three weeks.

What are the benefits of participating in 2.0?

As you participate in the study you will receive insights into how you respond to different aspects of your day and how your body responds to different situations and contexts. Weekly “insights” into how your emotion, stress, and body responses will be “unlocked” so the more you participate the more information you will receive and the more accurate your insights will be. The type of feedback you receive is updated over time.

Why am I having issues with the cognitive tasks ("challenges")?

Currently we are aware of a couple of situations that could lead to unsupported visual changes globally and neutral color text on the Color-Word challenge.

Please validate and disable the following device configurations if you are experiencing unwanted effects.

Easy Mode: Easy Mode configures your Home screen with a simpler layout and larger fonts to provide an easier experience for first-time smartphone users. This feature configures your device with larger fonts and changed screen density.

This configuration can lead unwanted effects on the application layout such as the "next" buttons covering instructions and questions. Currently it is not fully supported. In order to have the full intended experience please disable Easy Mode or increased zoom and larger fonts.

To enable or disable easy mode, follow these steps: Go to Settings > Display Select Easy Mode. More information: Samsung Support

High Contrast Text: High contrast makes text easier to read on your device. This feature fixes the text color as either black or white, depending on the original text color. This setting will prevent you from seeing colors during the Color Word Challenge.

To enable or disable high contrast text, follow these steps: Go to Settings > Accessibility Select High Contrast Text. High-contrast text is currently an experimental feature, so it might not work correctly everywhere on your device.

More information: Google Support