mHealth v2 Platform architecture

Stanford's mHealth platform resides on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

The new mHealth platform (v2) is designed with a serverless architecture and relies on a combination of third-party services, client-side logic, and service-hosted remote procedure calls (Functions as a Service). This serverless platform eliminates the need for server software and hardware management, making operational management easier with reduced operational cost and scaling costs. Client mobile applications use Firebase SDK libraries to communicate with backend services which are under GCP VPC service controls.

For study participants, they are first authenticated with password-less login powered by Cloud Identity. In the password-less login process, patients go through onboarding & consent in the app, then input their email address. After that, they check their email to finish login. In this way, patients can sign in securely without the need to provide (or remember) their password. They then are able to send survey data from the mobile apps to Firestore and save sensor data or videos to cloud storage. Data change events from the FireStore will trigger the Cloud Functions to write audit logs. Eventually, the data collected from mobile apps can be used by Nero or AutoML for data analysis. Firestore security rules are set up to make sure that the user can only access his/her own data.

For researchers, they are authenticated via Identity Platform to login to the dashboard web app. They then can view the survey data under their own study. Firestore security rules are set up to ensure that they won’t see data from other studies.

The mHealth v2 platform is a big addition to the existing v1 platform, which has already been used by a few studies. The existing platform is hosted in the GKE cluster, providing APIs for registering participants, saving mobile app data and data processing for researchers.

Other Stanford Resources

Nero for analytics

Nero, a HIPAA compliant Big Data analytics platform for Stanford researchers. The platform is built and maintained by Stanford Research Computing Center and supported by Research IT and is suitable for mHealth data analytics.

Nero Research Computing Platform

Center for Digital Health

Center for Digital Health provides central resources, information, and guidance, to advance the Stanford digital health community.

Center for Digital Health


Build an app

Building for Digital Health course from Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign is an opportunity for SoM faculty to collaborate with CS students to make real world patient impact. 

Building for Digital Health course

Bridge from Sage Bionetworks

Bridge is a set of Sage-hosted web services and SDKs designed to support a wide variety of biomedical research studies conducted through smartphone interfaces. Bridge provides a secure, HIPAA-compliant service that can accelerate the development and deployment of mobile apps built using Apple Research Kit, Android Research Stack, or other mobile frameworks in studies of human health. Software developers interested in developing apps using this service should check out our Bridge developer’s portal for documentation and links to code repositories.

Cardinal Kit from Stanford

Cardinal Kit from Stanford is an Open Source Platform & Codebase for Digital Health Research and Applications.

Cardinal Kit provides you a suite of tools to build your digital health experience from the ground up, from the app itself to storing collected data in the cloud.