You may have already heard some buzz in the news lately about Apple’s latest announcements including the soon to be released Apple Watch and updates to the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. They’ve also recently announced a new partnership with HBO subscriptions available directly to Apple customers.
What’s caught my attention is the announcement of Apple’s ResearchKit.
The ResearchKit is a framework that will turn the iPhone into an important tool for collecting medical data globally. With permission by the users, apps can access data from the Health app including weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and more. Research institutions around the world have already developed apps for studies on asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
Users, or study participants, can complete tasks or submit surveys right from the app. That way, researchers can gather information quickly and more efficiently to analyze data and hopefully get a few steps closer to improving healthcare. You will still be able to monitor your privacy and share only what you want.
Here are just a few examples…
The Share the Journey app, developed by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Penn Medicine, Sage Bionetworks and UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a research study that aims to understand why some breast cancer survivors recover faster than others, why their symptoms vary over time and what can be done to improve symptoms. Share the Journey will use surveys and sensor data on iPhones to collect and track fatigue, mood and cognitive changes, sleep disturbances and reduction in exercise.
Developed by Stanford Medicine, the MyHeart Counts app measures activity and uses risk factor and survey information to help researchers more accurately evaluate how a participant’s activity and lifestyle relate to cardiovascular health. By studying these relationships on a broad scale, researchers will be able to understand better how to keep hearts healthier.
Massachusetts General Hospital developed the GlucoSuccess app to understand how various aspects of a person’s life—diet, physical activity and medications—affect blood glucose levels. The app can also help participants identify how their food choices and activity relate to their best glucose levels, enabling them to clearly see correlations and take more active roles in their own well-being.
We’re keeping an eye on this news and are interested in seeing how it will be received globally and if it can actually help medical research move forward.