Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Apple Announces ResearchKit for medical researchers

PARCA eNews – April 14, 2015 – Apple® today announced ResearchKit™, a software framework designed for medical and health research that helps doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using mobile devices.

ResearchKit is described as an open source framework that allows medical researchers all over the world to develop their own apps to take advantage of the initial modules in ResearchKit to study health and wellness and better understand disease. Developers can also contribute new research modules to the open source framework.

How all this data collection will impact HIT departments at academic and community healthcare organizations was not addressed in the Apple announcement, however, Apple’s partnership with IBM in the Watson Health venture provides a possible glimpse of things to come. 

“ResearchKit could help us reach people all over the world who are willing to contribute to medical research, but might not know how or be able to get involved,” said Ricky Bloomfield, MD, in a press release. He is director of Mobile Technology Strategy and an assistant professor in Internal Medicine & Pediatrics at Duke University. 

ResearchKit turns iPhone into a medical research tool. When granted permission by the participant, ResearchKit apps can access data from advanced iPhone sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone and GPS to gain insight into a participant’s activity levels, motor impairments, memory and more. 

ResearchKit works seamlessly with HealthKit™, a software framework Apple introduced with iOS 8 to provide developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. ResearchKit apps can access and use data from the Health app such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use, which are measured by third-party devices and apps.

The initial customizable modules address the most common elements found in research studies—participant consent, surveys and active tasks. The first research apps developed using ResearchKit study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and have enrolled over 60,000 iPhone® users in just the first few weeks of being available on the App Store™.

Source: Apple press release

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