The MyHeart Counts app was one of the first apps designed using Apple’s open-sourced medical research platform ResearchKit.
The free app essentially allows users to learn about their own heart health while also participating in a large-scale study on the prevention and treatment of heart disease. The app uses the iPhone’s built-in motion sensors to collect data about physical activity and cardiac risk factors.
As part of the study, users are required to complete certain tasks and answer surveys from their iPhones. Every three months they have to monitor a week’s work of physical activity, complete a six minute walk fitness test and enter their risk-factor information. To date 41,000 people in the US have agreed to participate in the study.
“The idea is to move into one country at a time until we go global,” said a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford and co-investigator for the MyHeart Counts study, Euan Ashley, MD. “We hope to add more countries every few months.”
In conjunction with the app’s launch in the two new regions, a new version was also launched that includes more feedback from other users to help participants improve their own heart health and further contribute to the study. A new newsfeed section has also been added that provides updates on heart health news.
“Now, we’re actually giving data back to the participants,” said Ashley. “For example, the participants can see where they fall in relation to others on their six minute walk test.”
“We’ll now be providing feedback about physical activity, diet, blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” added professor of cardiovascular medicine and principal investigator for the study, Michael McConnell, MD.