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Apple ResearchKit is already a hit, but some doctors aren’t happy

by Jacob Kleinman | March 11, 2015March 11, 2015 6:00 pm EST

Just a few days after Apple launched ResearchKit, the first apps to take advantage of these new tools are already attracting thousands of signups. That may sound like a good thing, but Bloomberg reports that some doctors are worried the results could be questionable at best.

A cardiovascular study from Stanford University, one of the first five apps to launch with ResearchKit, quickly racked up 11,000 signups in less than 24 hours. Previously, it might have taken a full year to get that many people enrolled. Now, medical studies can tap the millions of Apple fans around the world for significantly quicker results.

“That’s the power of the phone,” Alan Yeung, Stanford’s medical director for cardiovascular health told Bloomberg.

But not everyone is as excited for ResearchKit. Other medical researchers argue that the results could be less accurate compared to traditional methods. An iPhone owner could sign up for a study focused on a disease they don’t have, or enter incorrect data by mistake with a single misplaced tap.

Then again, ResearchKit also has some clear advantages. For one, the iPhone’s motion sensors are probably more accurate, and won’t lie when you forget to exercise for a week or two. Other companies are also developing Bluetooth-enabled medical equipment that could log your results directly to minimize human error.

It’s too soon to really know how ResearchKit will affect the medical industry, and it could be a few years before the results become clear. One thing’s for sure though, Apple’s new medical tool is already a hit with iPhone owners. Whether that’s good, bad or somewhere inbetween remains to be seen.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...