How Apple wants to transform medical research with the iPhone

By | April 4, 2016
How Apple wants to transform medical research with the iPhone

Image: Apple Researchers have been putting up fliers around college campuses and city centers to get people to participate in medical studies for decades. But the methods for obtaining this type of quantitative data has always been a challenge and has been largely unchanged. But now Apple is involved.

As a part of a major effort to help researchers learn more about various diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes, Apple announced earlier this week its vision for collecting data from patients via iPhone. Because the device is sensor-laden and is usually kept in a pocket, data isn’t collected every three or so months like in many research trials; the tool will update with new information every few seconds.

ResearchKit, which is what the tool is called, works with Apple’s existing HealthKit platform. Patients with certain conditions can opt in to participate in various clinical studies and surveys (daily, weekly, monthly and so on) that can be evaluated and analyzed by medical researchers. The goal is to ultimately improve patients’ health and the ability to care for them.

ResearchKit was probably the biggest surprise coming out of the Apple event,” Scott Snyder, president and chief strategy officer at mobile engagement provider at Mobiquity told Mashable. “Other than working with HealthKit parters like the Mayo Clinic for HealthKit, Apple has shied away from getting involved with healthcare. But ResearchKit opens up the possibility of data from 700 million iOS devices to be mined for patterns and behaviors that create a whole new world for healthcare research.”