Apple wants to get more involved with your health, and this time it’s in the form of research. ResearchKit is a fairly new tool created by Apple, and it works in conjunction with HealthKit. ResearchKit (as the name suggests) was designed to gather information about specific health problems.
The ResearchKit tool works via iPhone, and because users carry iPhones regularly, Apple will be able to gather information every few seconds as opposed to other research studies that gather health details every couple of months.
How ResearchKit Will Work
Apple is looking for people with specific illnesses to volunteer to be part of the ResearchKit process. Since there are more than 700 million iOS devices out there, Apple’s health research that is gathered by this tool could be vital to health care research. The information gathered from the new tool will also be the first of its kind. While scientists and medical researchers can gather details about certain health conditions, none of this research is as specific as the data that an iOS device can gather.
Since a device like an iPhone is with a person regularly, this device can gather data like where that person lives and how the atmosphere in that area impacts a person’s health. This is the kind of research that most health scientists can’t easily gather, or can only gather in spurts or in controlled tests. The ResearchKit announcement was a big one, and an unexpected one, for Apple. The company tends to shy away from the health market (other than HealthKit), but it seems like medical research is the new direction that Apple will be taking.
Apple is also working with a number of partners to build and establish ResearchKit. So far, the company has joined teams with Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine in New York. The school has developed an Asthma app for ResearchKit that will help Apple and Sinai researchers understand asthma better. Other partners include the University of Oxford, Stanford University, Penn Medicine, and Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University in China.
Apple has managed to snag some pretty influential medical world partners for the ResearchKit app thus far, and the company plans to gather additional partners along the way. So far, though, the lineup of medical professionals and schools is impressive even for Apple, but the real point of ResearchKit is to gather data for the medical world that can’t easily be gathered elsewhere.
Participants Taking Place
So far, Apple has seen a number of willing participants sign up to use each health app that is part of ResearchKit. People that are suffering from specific illnesses see great potential in ResearchKit, and the whole venture could actually lead to cures for diseases and new medications faster than other forms of research.
The biggest issue for participants, though, is privacy. Using any ResearchKit app and participating in this program means that those involved will have to include personal details, and this is causing some people to shy away from ResearchKit entirely while causing critics to note that Apple is crossing a fine privacy line.