Apple announce ResearchKit, a new medical research tool
ResearchKit is an open source software tool that allows researchers to gather participant data on an unprecedented scale.
Utilising the boom in mobile devices, ResearchKit is a software framework that allows researchers to engage with participants through mobile apps. The system is designed specifically for research studies and allows the researchers to gain consent, complete surveys and monitor tasks and outcomes.
The system can incorporate data from other apps (by consent) and opens up the possibilities for researchers to dramatically increase participancy and increase the data obtained.
According to Apple the first apps, that have been in use for just a few weeks to study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, have already enrolled over 60,000 iPhone users.
Being open source, researchers and developers can develop apps to suit their own requirements or choose from already existing ones.
ResearchKit apps are currently available on the US app store and will be rolling out to more countries in the future.
According to Apple, the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the latest generation of iPod touch all support ResearchKit apps.
This is a good utilisation of the widespread use of mobile devices and could open the way for many future medical breakthroughs.