Apple on Tuesday released its ResearchKit tools to medical researchers. ResearchKit was first announced during the company’s “Spring Forward” event in March, where it detailed new health-focused applications that can be used by doctors and other medical professionals to collect patient data using a new application framework.
Apple said that the first applications, which were also introduced during the Spring Forward event, have already attracted more than 60,000 participants who are helping researchers study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s. The new tools will allow all researchers to develop new apps that can be used to research new afflictions.
“We are delighted and encouraged by the response to ResearchKit from the medical and research community and the participants contributing to medical research,” Apple’s senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said Tuesday. “Studies that historically attracted a few hundred participants are now attracting participants in the tens of thousands.” Some doctors, however, have expressed concern that the large number of users might result in false positives and that data might not be as accurate.
ResearchKit-enabled applications are completely opt in for the end user, which means they aren’t going to dig into your medical history without you knowing first. Apple said that the software enables researchers to tap into all sorts of health data, including weight, glucose levels, blood pressure, asthma inhaler use and more, some of which also require third-party hardware. Now that it’s available, we should start to see plenty of new health apps released in the coming weeks and months.