IBM Watson Health is offering non-profit researchers involved in Apple ResearchKit studies and app development free storage and utilisation of their cloud platform.

According to their website, IBM Watson Health is providing up to one terabyte of data storage for up to three years for free.

In order to participate, the researcher’s ResearchKit study needs to already be Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved.

The free trial offering from IBM Watson Health is expected to help academic researchers immensely because one of the most costly items when recruiting study participants and collecting their data is the storage of patient data in a secure and HIPAA complaint fashion.

At an additional price researchers will also be able to get access to Watson Analytics, which will enable them to get key insights into the data they’re collecting.

Apple launched ResearchKit in March 2015 as an open source software framework for medical professionals and researchers to gather anonymous data on users.

Over the past year a number of leading academic centres, including Stanford, Yale and Harvard have launched ResearchKit apps to further understand health issues ranging from asthma to heart health and Parkinson’s disease.

In March, IBM launched their own ResearchKit study in collaboration with the American Sleep Apnoea Association (ASAA). The SleepHealth study will explore the connections between sleep quality and daytime activities, alertness, productivity, general health and medical conditions. Once it has completed several years of data collection, the research team expects to develop personalised and public health interventions for a variety of sleep-related health issues.

The SleepHealth study is the first ResearchKit study to run on Watson Health Cloud.

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