Apple is opening up its CareKit framework to developers

Apple’s plan to turn the iPhone into a medical wonder starts now

Apple Advances Health Apps with CareKit, New Software Framework Helps Developers Empower People to Take a More Active Role in their Health, Apple Press Release, 2016.

CUPERTINO, California — March 21, 2016 — Apple today announced CareKit, a new software framework designed to help developers enable people to actively manage their own medical conditions. iPhone apps using CareKit make it easier for individuals to keep track of care plans and monitor symptoms and medication; providing insights that help people better understand their own health. With the ability to share information with doctors, nurses or family members, CareKit apps help people take a more active role in their health.

“We’re thrilled with the profound impact ResearchKit has already had on the pace and scale of conducting medical research, and have realised that many of the same principles could help with individual care, We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful, and apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”

said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

CareKit will be released as an open source framework next month allowing the developer community to continue building on the first four modules designed by Apple, that include:

  • Care Card helps people track their individual care plans and action items, such as taking medication or completing physical therapy exercises. Activities can automatically be tracked and entered using sensors in Apple Watch or iPhone;
  • Symptom and Measurement Tracker lets users easily record their symptoms and how they’re feeling, like monitoring temperature for possible infections or measuring pain or fatigue. Progress updates could include simple surveys, photos that capture the progression of a wound or activities calculated by using the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope, like quantifying range of motion;
  • Insight Dashboard maps symptoms against the action items in the Care Card to easily show how treatments are working; and
  • Connect makes it easy for people to share information and communicate with doctors, care teams or family members about their health and any change in condition.

“With ResearchKit, we quickly realised the power of mobile apps for running inexpensive, high-quality clinical studies with unprecedented reach. We hope that CareKit will help us close the gap between our research findings and how we care for our Parkinson’s patients day-to-day. It’s opening up a whole new opportunity for the democratisation of research and medicine.”

said Ray Dorsey, MD, David M. Levy Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Developers of health and wellness apps are excited to build these CareKit modules into apps for Parkinson’s patients, post-surgery progress, home health monitoring, diabetes management, mental health and maternal health.

  • Sage Bionetworks and the University of Rochester are using CareKit to turn the mPower ResearchKit study into a valuable tool to help better inform patients about their condition and care providers about treatment.
  • The Texas Medical Center is designing apps to guide and support care pathways for its 8 million patients to improve their health through enhanced connectivity with their care teams.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will provide patients with more insight into their own chronic care management through home health monitoring devices that securely store data in HealthKit.
  • One Drop is empowering people with a better approach to managing their diabetes.
  • Start, by Iodine, helps people on antidepressants understand if their medication is working for them or not, and helps their doctors deliver more informed care.
  • Glow, Inc. will incorporate CareKit modules into its pregnancy app, Glow Nurture, to guide women through a healthier pregnancy.

These are a few of the first apps. For more information, visit


Apple ResearchKit Infographic

What we know about Apple’s ResearchKit so far…

What we know about Apple’s ResearchKit so far…

This infographic illustrates the key facts about Apple ResearchKit, open source software framework designed for medical and health research that helps doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using mobile devices.

Sources and more information

Dr Now smartphone app connects you with qualified UK GPs through remote video consultation

Dr Now: the smartphone app that puts you in touch with a GP – for a fee

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New health apps exploit gaps in overstretched NHS by offering subscribers virtual consultation with a GP.

A UK tech firm is offering video consultations with doctors via mobile phone. The revolutionary Dr Now(®) platform connects patients with qualified GPs through remote video consultation to “give them the medical diagnosis they need, when they need it“.

The Dr Now website, which boasts it is the world’s first website to diagnose and deliver medicine, even has a corporate page that lets businesses calculate potential cost savings, based on the number of staff and average salary. It is in discussions with several big pharmaceutical companies.

Sources and more information

  • Dr Now: the smartphone app that puts you in touch with a GP – for a fee, theguardian, 2 August 2015.
  • Find the app on iTunes and GooglePlay.

Can Apple’s ResearchKit change the face of medical research?

With Apple’s ResearchKit, doctors can design apps that allow users to quickly, easily participate in medical studies

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The combination of widespread usage and the capacity to collect data makes smartphones an ideal tool for researchers to involve phone owners in taking a medical study. Image via

Everyry day, Medical News Today reports on a large number of studies. Many of these involve the recruitment of participants so researchers can obtain new and relevant data. The best of these studies will involve the participation of thousands of people, but getting hold of large numbers of willing volunteers can be difficult.

In March, Apple launched ResearchKit, an open source software framework for researchers and developers. What effect might this have on medical research?

  • Getting started
  • Lots and lots of data
  • An open source framework for all
  • Work in progress

Read Can Apple’s ResearchKit change the face of medical research?
by James McIntosh, Medical News Today, 11 June 2015.

Apple iPhone could become a new tool in genetic studies

Does Apple pursue DNA data?

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Apple Has Plans for Your DNA: The iPhone could become a new tool in genetic studies. Illustration by Sarah Mazzetti

Apple launched ResearchKit and got a fantastic response. The obvious next thing is to collect DNA,” says Gholson Lyon, a geneticist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who isn’t involved with the studies.

One issue facing Apple is whether consumers are even interested in their DNA. So far, most people still have no real use for genetic data, and common systems for interpreting it are lacking as well. “In 10 years it could be incredibly significant,” says Lyon. “But the question is, do they have a killer app to interact with their [DNA] quickly and easily.”

Read Apple Has Plans for Your DNA,
by Antonio Regalado on MIT Technology Review, May 5, 2015.

Apple Research Kit video

Apple makes it easier to join medical studies

With Apple’s new ResearchKit, doctors can design apps that allow users to quickly and easily participate in medical studies.

More information

Apple ResearchKit for iOS and new Health Apps aiming to boost Medical Research

With ResearchKit for iOS, Apple makes it much easier to join medical studies

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With Apple’s new ResearchKit, doctors can design apps that allow users to quickly and easily participate in medical studies. Image via Apple.

With iOS 8, Apple introduced HealthKit, a powerful tool that allows health and fitness apps on iPhone to work together. Over 900 apps have already been developed using HealthKit, transforming how we track, manage, and interact with our health.

The biggest challenge in medical research is that it takes so long to organize the studies but what if it could be done at the click of a button? With a user’s consent, ResearchKit can seamlessly tap into the pool of useful data generated by HealthKit — like daily step counts, calorie use, and heart rates — making it accessible to medical researchers. With ResearchKit, iPhone and iPad users will be able to search and sign up for specific medical studies on everything from Parkinson’s disease to diabetes, asthma to breast cancer.

Sources and more information

  • Apple makes it easier to join medical studiesmnn, Mar 18, 2015.
  • The Next Disruptor of Clinical Trials? Try Apple, mmm, MARCH 11, 2015.
  • ResearchKit An “Enormous Opportunity” For Science, Says Breast Cancer Charity, techcrunch, 2015/03/14.
  • ResearchKit Technical Overview, apple, March 2015.

HealthApps: do they do More Harm than Good?

By 2015, 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health app

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Apple’s HealthKit brings all your health data together in one place and allows you to share it with health care providers.

” Amost 20% of smartphone users have one or more applications on their device that helps them track or manage their health. It is estimated that by next year, 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health app. There is no doubt that these apps are growing in popularity.
But are they actually beneficial to our health?
Or could they do more harm than good? “

  • Do calorie-counting and fitness apps pull their weight?
  • Could health apps be detrimental to health?
  • No need for medical input when developing health app
  • Sharing data with doctors
  • Apple HealthKit – not necessarily ‘the beginning of a health revolution’
  • The use of HealthKit in clinical trials

Read Health apps: do they do more harm than good?, MNT articles/283117, by Honor Whiteman, 26 September 2014.