Apple ResearchKit, iOS Health Apps Aim to Change Medical Research

Apple ResearchKit, iOS Health Apps Aim to Change Medical Research
ResearchKit Involves Many Partners
Finding a New Way to Fight Diseases
Use Data From HealthKit for Even More Analysis
Asthma Health Lets Users Breath Easier
'Share the Journey,' Fight Breast Cancer
MyHeart Count Aims at Cardiovascular Health
MyHeart Count Boasts Several Key Feature
GlucoSuccess Helps Diabetes Sufferers
Parkinson mPower Lends a Hand to Those Afflicted
HealthKit Now Has an Expanded Role
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Apple ResearchKit, iOS Health Apps Aim to Change Medical Research

By Nathan Eddy

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ResearchKit Involves Many Partners

Apple's ResearchKit uses an open-source software framework that makes it possible for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, with the potential help of the 700 million iPhone users worldwide. Each phone is already equipped with processors and sensors that can track movement, take measurements and record information.

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Finding a New Way to Fight Diseases

Many of the apps built with ResearchKit will enable users to track their own data and potentially discover correlations between symptoms and daily actions, such as diet or exercise. The platform lets users choose what studies they want to join. Users are in control of what information they provide to which apps and can see the data they are sharing. Apple also noted that the company will never see the user's personal data.

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Use Data From HealthKit for Even More Analysis

The platform lets users create visual consent flows, real-time dynamic active tasks and surveys using a variety of customizable modules that researchers can build upon and share with the community. And since ResearchKit works with HealthKit, researchers can access additional relevant data for their studies, like daily step counts, calorie use and heart rate.

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Asthma Health Lets Users Breath Easier

Developed in partnership with at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the app provides personalized reminders to take prescribed medications, helps track the patient's condition 24/7, allows users to review trends and gives the user feedback on your progress. The aim is to help patients experience less asthma-related distress with better symptoms control, improved quality of life and fewer unexpected medical visits.

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'Share the Journey,' Fight Breast Cancer

"Share the Journey: Mind, Body and Wellness" after breast cancer enables a medical research study that aims to understand the symptoms after breast cancer treatment, why these symptoms vary over time and what can be done to improve them. Developed by Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit research organization, the app will use questionnaires and collect phone sensor data to track five common symptoms of breast cancer treatment that can persist, even after active treatment ends: fatigue, mood and cognitive changes, sleep disturbances and changes in exercise.

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MyHeart Count Aims at Cardiovascular Health

Developed by Stanford Medicine, the MyHeart Counts app measures activity and uses risk factor and survey information to help researchers more accurately evaluate how a participant's activity and lifestyle relate to cardiovascular health. By studying these relationships on a broad scale, researchers hope to be able to understand better how to keep hearts healthier.

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MyHeart Count Boasts Several Key Feature

The app can help users measure their activity through the sensors in the iPhone or the Apple Watch, or any wearable activity device linked to Apple Health App. Another feature is the ability to determine the users' fitness levels, if they are able to take a 6-minute walk test, and the app can also provide a risk score for heart disease or stroke, as well as the user's corresponding "heart age."

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GlucoSuccess Helps Diabetes Sufferers

The app helps users keep track of health behaviors important for people with type 2 diabetes; these include physical activity, diet and taking their medicines. Data that the user shares through the app as part of the research study will create a crowd-sourced database of health behaviors and glucose values from other people suffering from diabetes. GlucoSuccess also provides personalized insights into how health behaviors relate to finger-stick blood glucose values to help them manage their type 2 diabetes.

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Parkinson mPower Lends a Hand to Those Afflicted

A personal tool and research instrument to track symptoms of Parkinson disease, the app was developed by Sage Bionetworks in collaboration with University of Rochester and Beijing Institute of Geriatrics. The mPower app helps track your symptoms by recording activities using sensors in your phone. These activities include a memory game, finger tapping, speaking and walking.

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HealthKit Now Has an Expanded Role

With the user's consent, ResearchKit can tap into the pool of data generated by HealthKit, a tool that allows health and fitness apps on the iPhone to work together. More than 900 apps have already been developed using HealthKit, allowing users to track, manage and interact with their health.

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