Data and Sample Acquisition

Airwave staff coordinate and set up temporary screening clinics across the UK in order to collect data and samples from as many people as they can. Coordinators then invite people to take part in the study where they will also receive a free health screening.

At the clinic, participants are asked by a nurse to consent to the collection of a wide variety of data and biosamples as part of the study.

During the screening, a nurse collects information and biosamples from the participant in a consistent manner that meet the requirements set out during the study design.

The nurse takes body measurements (weight, height, blood pressure, etc.) alongside an ECG reading and also collects samples of the participant’s blood and urine.

Participants answer questions about their health background and take cognitive tests, and some are asked to keep a 7-day diary of all food and drink consumed. In the earlier stages of the study, 7-day radio diaries were also completed by participants.

Participants also consent to allow researchers to access data that was collected prior or external to the study. This includes their NHS data (Hospital Episode Statistics) alongside their Police force records on any absences due to sickness as well as their usage of the Tetra radio system. Finally, they also consent for the study to be informed

When the screening is complete, the biosamples and data are transferred to both virtual and physical locations for processing.

I chose to represent the study clinic and other ‘real-life’ spaces within the Airwave system as three-dimensional isometric cubes to differentiate from virtual spaces in the study (such as the data portal, Imperial ‘Secure enclave’, and so on). Here, all data and samples that move through the System Map start from the patient: data collection ‘activates’ the latent data points held within the participant and sends them on their journey through the study system. All data collected from the patient leaves the clinic through the ‘window of consent’ that was ‘opened’ by the participant when they consented to their data and samples being collected for research.