Apple is collaborating with medical researchers to bring the power of medical diagnostics to over 700 million iPhone users. ResearchKit is a new iPhone open source software framework that enables the creation of diagnostic apps by medical researchers. Set for release next month, ResearchKit is designed to increase patient recruitment, data sampling, and patient interaction. There are already five ResearchKit apps developed by various research institutes to study and diagnose Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.
By tapping into the powerful devices inherent in all iPhones, including the GPS sensors, microphone, gyroscope, and accelerometer, users can provide permission to researchers to track their personal health outcomes including fitness, motor impairment, gait, balance, speech, memory, blood sugar, blood pressure, and asthma inhaler usage. Research participants are empowered to choose which research studies to participate in, as well as how their personal data is shared. For scientists, this means widespread access to a broad global population of research participants and the integration of other features such as informed consent and surveys directly via the app. Overall, this new framework provides a powerful way to improve the process of disease diagnosis and prevention.