“As we worked on HealthKit we came across an even broader impact that iPhone could make and that is on medical research,” said Apple CEO, Tim Cook, during the unveiling. “Perhaps the most profound change iPhone will make is on our health.”
ResearchKit is envisioned to give millions of iPhone users the opt-in opportunity to participate in medical research and clinical health trials. With user consent, the apps within ResearchKit will collect data on the user’s health, such as glucose levels and asthma symptoms, and will also monitor patients as they recover from treatments for illnesses, such as breast cancer. ResearchKit will also enable researchers to build medical testing apps on top of Apple’s platform.
Apple’s senior vice president of operations, Jeff Williams, introduced ResearchKit as the answer to several problems plaguing the medical research community, including small sample sizes, issues with subjective data and the frequency of data collected. “Disease symptoms ebb and flow daily, almost hourly,” he said, thus requiring a platform that can gather data in real-time from a wide range of sources.
Williams also announced that Apple will not collect or use data generated by ResearchKit users.
ResearchKit is expected to roll out in April, and Apple has already developed and made available five apps in collaboration with global leading healthcare providers. The apps target the most prevalent health concerns: diabetes, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.